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:

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:

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!


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:

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