Use Gamification To Train Your Staff How To Recognise Cybersecurity Threats

Animation and gamification are becoming more prevalent in business settings. Thanks to its animated visuals and engaging features, companies particularly find gamification is an effective training tool. An increase in data breaches has underscored that companies are obligated to raise awareness of cybercrime activity. Whilst it is widely believed that hackers use complex and advanced technologies, the reality is that most data breaches are caused by end-users.

Researchers at Stanford University discovered that 88% of successful cyberattacks are caused by human error. Cybercriminals are well organised and use sophisticated techniques to target weak passwords, persuade users to download infected files, click on bad links, crash websites by overloading them with data requests, or implant viruses that can covertly steal data.

The cost of a data breach can be catastrophic. Companies that neglect to implement adequate measures to protect customer data are liable to pay a GDPR penalty – which can be 4% of your annual global turnover or up to £17.5 million.

According to reports, 60% of companies go out of business following a data breach.

A Zoom on Someone Hacking in to Someone Else's Online Accounts

Why Gamification? 

Gamification has been shown to provide significant benefits in learning environments. One research study found that gamification was effective across various personalities. Even low conscientious types that typically shy away from learning new information were engaged. The animation elements of gamification are visually stimulating and improve memory recall. Moreover, the content can be easily digested. A short video and quiz about one aspect of cybersecurity can be completed in five minutes.

The brevity and ease of using gamification to enhance awareness of cybersecurity threats are ideal for members at all levels of your organisations. Training staff with animated videos is not as time-consuming as classroom simulations thus have less impact on the loss of productivity. Animation is also a great tool for storytelling and can transform dry and boring topics – like cybersecurity awareness – into engaging content your employees enjoy consuming.

Storytelling is known to increase cognitive function. Visuals not only stimulate the brain to enhance engagement but also enables viewers to retain more information because they are easier to grasp. Each learning exercise tells a story that reveals the techniques hackers use to deploy cyber attacks. The videos also illustrate how your employees can identify potential threats and explain the course of action they should take.

Gamification can be applied in several ways. The most simple format is to prepare an interactive quiz for users to complete at the end of the video or with multiple-choice options throughout the video. The content includes showing your staff how phishing emails are used, how to identify fake websites and mobile ads, social media tricks and more. Because there are so many hacking techniques, the best strategy is to create a 5-minute gamified video for each cyber strategy.

hacker accessing a privileged account, the crown jewels of a business

Types of Hacking Techniques

Developing an effective cybersecurity awareness program should cover the spectrum of threats your employees will be exposed to in an easily understandable format.

Rather than bombarding employees with an intensive training course, a series of short gamification videos focusing on specific threats strips away the potential for confusion and reduces the likelihood of disinterested learners from switching off. As you can see from the list below, cybercriminals use a raft of techniques that pose a risk to businesses of all sizes.

Phishing – the most common type of cybersecurity attack. Hackers send emails with links to websites infected with malicious malware or try to persuade recipients to open an attachment embedded with malicious code.

Spear phishing – whereas phishing attempts cast the net far and wide, spear phishing targets individuals; generally higher value people such as CEOs, CFOs, senior executives or members of the accounts team.

Rogue website – infiltrate websites that sell advertising space and place ads with bad links that can download malware, take over your browser or compromise your IT system.

Malware – hackers infect devices with malicious code that can perform a series of functions. Some malware covertly steals or deletes files, others overload your system so it crashes whilst ransomware hijacks your system until you pay the hackers a ransom to give you access.

Cookie Theft – cookies are text files that store personal information including financial data and user credentials. The data files are stored in your computer system or browser cache when you visit a website. Hackers can access this information through browser add-ons, fake WAP attacks and hijacked sessions.

Fake WAP – malicious actors create fake WiFi hotspots which enables them to monitor and hijack data streams.

MITM Attacks – targets websites with unsecured network connections and public Wi-Fi’s to intercept data and file transfers between two connections.

Gamification is a powerful tool that significantly enhances engagement. Ensuring that your employees are fully versed in the techniques employed by cybercriminals could be the difference between business continuity or company closure.

Would you like to know more about how animation can support your employee e-learning requirements? Please feel free to drop us a line at Or view our case study on Online Employee E-learning here.

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