Second Life: A Virtual World Platform for Profiling Online Behavior for Network and Information Security Education? An Initial Investigation

Second Life: A Virtual World Platform for Profiling Online Behavior for Network and Information Security Education? An Initial Investigation

Galen Grimes (Penn State Greater Allegheny, USA) and Michael Bartolacci (Penn State Berks, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0050-8.ch017
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Abstract

Virtual worlds have become increasingly popular with the growth of high speed Internet access worldwide and online gaming. The popularity of massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPG), such as World of Warcraft, and virtual worlds, such as Second Life, has created an opportunity for educators to build a learning platform that students can readily relate to. This paper explores some of the possibilities of utilizing one particular virtual world (Second Life) as a platform for network and information security training with a focus on the profiling of online behavior. In particular it describes the initial attempts of its use at one of the Pennsylvania State University’s campuses.
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What Can Be Accomplished In Second Life

Beyond the mundane use of holding class lectures, SL presents an environment where concepts such as cyber eavesdropping, profiling of online user behavior, and even would-be criminal acts such as fraud, can be demonstrated with little or no real world harm or consequences. Due to the open nature of online behavior, great amounts of information about SL users (called residents by Linden Laboratories) can be gleaned without fear of violating privacy laws. The only question that arises with this potential use is when such activities approach a form of cyberstalking if such activities extend beyond SL for some reason.

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