Yes, once upon a time it was a completely mediocre movie with Angelina Jolie, but hacking into computer systems has become an art form, something that crafty tech whizzes worldwide are needling away at as we speak, trying to become the next LinkedIn-sized security breach.
And now, with a new tabletop card game developed by Yoshi Kohno, a UW associate professor of computer science and engineering, and Tamara Denning, a UW doctoral student in computer science and engineering, (with help from Adam Shostack, a security professional who helped develop a card game at Microsoft in 2010), it is your mission to try and stop them.
The new game, “Control-Alt-Hack” turns users into professional hackers, testing their abilities to bust into supposedly secure systems. (In one example, a player hacks into a hotel minibar in order to disrupt its radio-tag payment system). Made especially for a younger audience, 15 to 30-year-olds, with a basic working knowledge of computer science, “Control-Alt-Hack” invites users to work for Hackers, Inc., a small company that does security audits by attempting to break into your system. Three to six users can play at once, taking turns choosing a card that has a different hacking challenge.
To make the game more realistic and fun, Kohno has incorporated research from his own lab, and they use other hot-button issues in today’s computer security world, like those spam-inducing botnets or breaches in medical records. Users can then pick from a plethora of hacking skills to try and beat the system.
The makers are presenting it this week at info-security event Black Hat 2012 in Las Vegas, but U.S.-based educators can get a free copy while supplies last before it goes on sale this fall for $30.