No Longer Fiction, From Video Games to Reality – Gamify Learning Cybersecurity w/ TryHackMe’s PreSecurity

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I am treating this as a special article, since while this is partially for a particular event, this is an important topic to the video game audience, whether the players or developers. To be blunt, my audience in this article are the video game enjoyers/players and developers that maybe never had an inkling of awareness, but maybe are curious about exploring cybersecurity. It is also aimed towards those who do not associate with LinkedIn as part of their life, the college student that is trying to find a start in their life, or those in general that want to fiddle around, but require guidance.

Fiction, through movie and video games, has shown us amazing feats that would otherwise seem unrealistic. Typically in sci-fi genre, you had the ability to play as the hacker or you had the member in the cast that was the hacker that could access what the enemy controlled.

Hacknet and Uplink screenshots, respectively

However, through out mid-20th century to 21st century, accessibility to be able to emulate what the hackers could do was limited without risking prison. Furthermore, those who had the knowledge kept it within the inner circles and the only way to learn was ‘do it yourself’, further limiting accessibility. Then there is money factoring in, those who could ‘teach’ required large sum of money. Knowledge of events like Capture the Flags (CtFs) was practically ‘underground’ and were intimidating when you do enter.

What is more important is that the knowledge to do those things requires you to understand the fundamentals on how your information technology works. I say yours because you ultimately use it for day-to-day purposes through email, chatting, etc.

Enter TryHackMe:

Path to Site: https://tryhackme.com

Since 2018, the organization worked to increase the accessibility in learning cybersecurity. You can review their mission here. You won’t feel too lost because most of their rooms are generally guided, aiming to steer you towards success. If you do happen to feel stuck, many people have written walkthroughs as well. While many of their rooms/challenges are free, there are some that require getting having a subscription (which can be obtained by purchasing a voucher) in order to access the room. Nevertheless, there are tons of rooms that are offered that does not require paying. Overall, you get to learn some activities for free!

If you don’t have a computer dedicated to log in and learn? That’s okay! They’ll provide you the access with their ‘attack box’! If you do have a system that you want to use, they provide you the virtual private network (VPN) access so you can directly connect, thus avoiding breaking your Terms of Service (ToS) with your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Screenshot from Windows Fundamentals to include a browser-hosted virtual machine (VM) provided by TryHackMe

This will admittedly disappoint many of the gamers, but the hacking will not be like what you see in say…  Deus Ex or Cyberpunk 2077, or even Nite Team 4 – Military Hacking Division.

Screenshot from Nite Team 4 – Military Hacking Division

…but maybe more like this.

This example comes from the Terminator room.

More importantly, back to the basics, the earlier example of the Windows fundamentals is part of this course:

Path to Site: https://tryhackme.com/path/outline/presecurity

Introducing the Pre-Security Learning course, designed to teach the fundamentals of cybersecurity from the computer (also called the endpoint these days), network, and websites. You will also learn about both Linux AND Windows operating systems.

For those who may have a good understanding of some aspects, the curriculum does a good job of showing your blind spots. As someone who has been dealing with IT for some time, the course was very valuable. The best part is that this entire course is free!

If you end up liking the course, maybe you may feel more confident in trying the other rooms to learn more. Maybe you’ll be interested in learning ‘Cyber Defense’, ‘Offensive’, or even ‘Complete Beginner’, which is available!

REFERENCE LINKS

To get started with TryHackMe:

While this is primarily focused on the TryHackMe Pre-Security event, because I have referenced these within the article, please check them out. These are actually good games that do a fairly decent job in certain aspects:

Megacraft Classic Ready for Minecraft 1.12

Many things dragged this update out. First there was my relatively ancient computer with a 1 GB video card and an Athlon Phenom II processor; it could barely run my own resource pack anymore and needed to be replaced. Then there were long hours at work, being throttled by my ISP, and the nature of this particular update itself. It was one of the tougher ones for me complete despite being so small. I probably could have had this done and released a lot sooner if I wasn’t a slow, deliberate person who tries to put a lot of thought into everything.

But it’s done! See the main project page for Megacraft Classic here, see the gallery for the 1.12 update here, and actually download the darn thing here. I’ll clean up the rest of the project’s nexus soon, I swear.

Rockman’s Not Over, and neither is this project.

About Time I Finished This: Exit Plan (Avernum: Escape From the Pit pt 33)

So, last time we found what should be the way out.

This is pretty much the point the entire game has been building up to. Sure we got to slay a big scary demon, and hunting down Lagram was fun. We made the underworld a much better place but as I’ve been saying the whole time we don’t want to be underground, we want out. So let’s leave already!

Read more

About Time I Finished This: The Way Out (Avernum: Escape From the Pit pt 32)

So, last time we beat the game… kinda.

For what it’s worth Grah-Hoth is dead, throw in all the other stuff we’ve done like end the war with the slith and destroy the Freehold, and Avernum is looking pretty secure right now. but we’re still stuck underground and we’d kind of like to see the sun again. Also we want to kill Hawthorne because really, that exile-happy lunatic needs to go. Read more

About Time I Finished This: The road north (Avernum: Escape From the Pit pt 30)

ISo, last time we finally met Erika, she’s scary and made us jump through a bunch of hoops to reach her.

Talking to her and looking around her tower also gave us a bunch of insight into what’s needed to finish the game. We know where the exit is and where to find the parts to the password for it. If I wanted to I could totally run off to start handling that. but first, we need to pay a visit to Grah-Hoth. Read more

About Time I Finished This: Erika the Red (Avernum: Escape From the Pit pt 29)

So, last time we explored the rest of the Abyss and caught a glimpse of what might be Erika’s tower.

In theory I could use the Orb of Thralni to hop the river and go say hi, but said river is part of the last major body of water in Avernum, and we know there’s a boat I can take up north to go explore it. It’d probably be best to get that done before we hit the tower. Read more

About Time I Finished This: A Trip down the Abyss (Avernum: Escape From the Pit pt 28)

So, last time we finally found Lagran! it was a very awkward reunion and also we killed him.

We’re now in the Abyss, the place where the exiles exile their own exiles to. We’re basically in double-Avernum. We’ve actually been here before, as Bargah is part of the abyss, but this time we’re coming in through the front entrance rather than sneaking in through the back. There’s a bit to explore as we make our way northwards Read more

About Time I Finished This: I can fly! (Avernum: Escape From the Pit pt 26)

So, last time we wandered off the map past Fort Remote, and found a dragon.

At this point our goals for the end of the game are pretty clear: Slay Grah-Hoth, find Erika so she can help us escape, then find that exit to the surface so we can actually do so. We’re also starting to run out of other things to do. That said, there’s still a couple things to deal with. Namely, We know there’s some bandit trouble near Fort Spire, but for now there’s a couple things I want to deal with before I start pushing north. Read more