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Information and Infrastructure Integrity Initiative

Serious Gaming Technology for Evaluation of Predictive and Adaptive Performance of Cyber Security Defense Systems

Principal Investigator: L Martucci
Technical Advisor: FL Greitzer, Predictive Defense Focus Area

Purpose of the research

  • Extend physical security red/blue team serious gaming technology to cyber security domain
  • Establish metaphoric physical representations of cyber battlespace
  • Gaming-based prediction and evaluation of attack and defensive scenarios associated with power distribution SCADA systems

Key idea

Use of serious gaming techniques to visualize predictions of prospective modes of cyber attack and efficacies of prospective defensive security systems and strategies.


Unique approach to interactive visualization and management of complex systems.


A simple game—designed to enhance situational awareness and decision making to protect critical infrastructures—was created to explore real-world scenarios. The game will educate the research team about the types of problems and solutions SCADA and cyber network operators encounter. It will allow the team to examine mental constructs of the operators and how these constructs are manipulated to perform work. Documentation of these constructs will enable the team to design and construct the virtual space in the next phase of the project.

The game includes a power distribution system model which, prior to game play, is configured based on the needs of the scenario. Blue stars represent SCADA monitoring and control equipment. At the start of the game, the operators pick their defensive tools, and the adversaries pick their offensive tools. The operator and adversary teams are physically isolated from each other to preserve some authenticity. Turn-based play begins with the adversaries making the first play followed by the operators' response. In between each play the moderator tells the other team what they observe — this information may not match what is really happening. This recreates the ambiguous environment of the real world and provides a better idea about the sorts of operations the defense must take to analyze and respond to the attack.

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Project Management