The Arlington-based Air Force Association is continuing its effort to educate young people on the importance of cybersecurity by meeting students where they are: on Facebook.
On Friday, the nonprofit association’s CyberPatriot office launched a social media game called CyberVille, in which players defend their virtual town from attacks against that town’s wired infrastructure, including banks, restaurants, and police and fire departments.
“It’s just a cute little game, but it has a profound message,” said Bernie Skoch, commissioner of the CyberPatriot program. “We want to show people how pervasive cyber systems are. We can’t run public safety departments without cyber systems. Hospitals rely on cyber systems. Stores use cyber systems for inventory.”
The CyberVille game, modeled after popular games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars, is also an unabashed attempt to draw high school students to the CyberPatriot cyber defense competition, Skoch said.
The competition, now in its fourth year, is designed to teach high school students the language and structure of cyber systems, to recognize vulnerabilities in those systems, and to correct those vulnerabilities.