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Gamified Intelligent Cyber Aptitude and Skills Training (GICAST)
Gamified Intelligent Cyber Aptitude and Skills Training (GICAST)

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Week 1: Threat landscape


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Welcome to this free course, Gamified Intelligent Cyber Aptitude Skills Training (GICAST).

Cory Doctorow is your guide through this course. He is a visiting professor at The Open University. He’ll meet you at the start of each week to let you know what’s coming up and remind you of what you’ve learned so far to help you make the most of your learning.

About the course

Your journey into the world of cyber security and protecting your digital life has been organised into eight weeks of study. This unique course uses game-play elements and adaptive learning techniques to break the learner barriers and to personalise the learning to suit your current cyber security current knowledge. At the start of each week, you will engage in an online game, which will present you with a series of cyber security scenarios to assess your intuitive cyber behaviour and understanding of cyber security concepts. On completing the game, you will be directed to an adapted learning pathway to address the gaps in your knowledge and understanding.

The first three weeks focus on understanding the basics of cyber security. This includes an exploration of the security threat landscape, together with some of the basic techniques for protecting your computers and your online information.

You’ll then look ‘under the hood’, exploring some of the technologies that underpin the internet and cyber security. This will include gaining an understanding of how computers are connected in a network and how the data transmitted across that network is kept secure.

In the final two weeks of the course, you’ll look at what can be done if you suffer a successful cyber security attack and how to develop an action plan. As part of this, you’ll learn about both the legal and technical aspects of recovering from an attack.

This course will not only help you take steps to protect yourself online, such as how to create a strong password, but also provide an overview of cyber security from the security threat landscape to how the internet works. It will also provide a foundation for further study of this important discipline.

To test your knowledge you can try the end-of-week practice and end-of-course compulsory badge quizzes.

Before you start, The Open University would really appreciate your participation in our optional start-of-course survey [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . Please note the survey will take 20 minutes to complete, but your answers are very valuable for us, as this survey is intended to find out if GICAST is having the intended impact on your learning. Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.

Week 1 game – Five Pillars of Security

It is recommended that you use a desktop/laptop computer to play the games in this course, and use headphones where possible for the best audio experience.

Let’s begin our learning for this week by playing a game. An interesting scene will play out in the game, and you will need to make a few decisions based on the situation you are in. Try to ensure you make the same choices you feel you would naturally make in the given situation. Your choices and decisions will enable the game to identify the gaps in your knowledge and assess your familiarity with the cyber security concepts taught in this lesson. You will need to be watchful and observe what happens around you in the game. You can ‘click’ (or ‘tap’ if you have a touch screen) to make your choices. You will find a ‘Cyber-Info’ box that will give you an overview of the topic that is being played out in the game. Now, follow this link to the game:

Week 1 game - Five Pillars of Security (open this link in a new tab/window so you can come back here easily after playing the game)

A note on learning pathways

Learning pathways are a recommendation only – you may choose to follow your own learning pathway and complete all sections, if you feel this will help you to complete the end of week quiz successfully.

Please note:

  • The Amber pathway includes the extended topics of the week.
  • The Green Pathway does NOT include the extended topics of the week.