19 December 2023 • Cyber security
In 2023, bout 60% of all companies targeted by ransomware paid a ransom to regain their data. Since 2019, the number of ransomware attacks has tripled, targeting both large and the smallest possible organizations.
Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts the data of whoever is targeted. The goal is to only decrypt the data once a ransom has been paid by the victim.
95% of all hacks and data breaches, including ransomware, are partly caused by human error. This is why organizations need to invest in the security awareness of their employees. And that’s how ransomware games came into existence.
In this article, we’ll share the best ransomware games that we were able to find.
What is a ransomware game?
A ransomware awareness game teaches employees about the dangers of ransomware, how to prevent getting hit by it, and how to act once it has occurred.
Gaming has proven to be an effective method to increase security awareness among employees. While traditional training methods like in-class sessions or boring PowerPoint presentations put employees to sleep, gamification makes for a more engaging and memorable learning experience.
Browsing the internet, we’ve found there are two types of ransomware games. The first type focuses on overall knowledge of the subject for the average employee. The second if focused on what happens once you are hit by ransomware. This type of game is mostly interesting for the negotiator that gets to communicate with the cyber criminal.
The 4 best ransomware games available in 2024
- Financial Times
- Hochschule Luzern
Guardey is a security awareness game that teaches employees about all the current cyber threats that they and the organizations they work for might face. Organizations can get infected by ransomware through a variety of different methods, which makes it important to give your employees a firm understanding of all of them.
Guardey wasn’t built to be played just once. Organizations use it to offer their employees weekly training. Each weekly game takes up to three minutes to complete and is always centered around a specific cyber security topic. In the screenshot below, the topic is ransomware.
After answering each question, the user gets in-depth about what they just did right or wrong. Because the challenges are so short, the employee can actually remember what they’ve learned. And because they train every week, their knowledge slowly but surely grows, and real behavior change occurs.
In the game, you can improve the reputation of your own fictional organization by scoring points and competing with your colleagues on a leaderboard. This gives the game a nice competitive element which boosts the participation rate.
When you first start the Financial Times ransomware game, this is the first screen you see. You are put right into the shoes of a negotiator right after your organization has been hit by ransomware. During a chat with the cyber criminal, you are challenged to try and get the best deal. In the meantime, you’re also asked to update your staff and the board to keep them calm (and keep your position, while you’re at it).
It’s more practice than the average employee at an organization would ever need, but it’s still worth doing. It clearly illustrates the horrible position an organization is truly in once hit by ransomware.
Spoiler alert: most experts would suggest to never pay a ransom fee. Cyber criminals still will have access to your data and will be able to keep blackmailing you for it if they please. However, this game shows that it’s hard to not crack under that pressure once valuable customer and employee data is on the line.
The game is made exceptionally well but is only suitable to be played once, not for regular awareness training. It’s also not a useful game for your average employee to play, as the chances of them being the negotiator during a breach are small.
This game was put together by a school in Luzern, Switzerland. They clearly invested a lot of time into the creation of it, since it comes with animations, voice actors, background music (that you can’t seem to turn off), and more.
The gameplay is a bit long-winded. It comes with a lot of explanations that you need to sit through. Luckily, you can skip ahead by clicking the text bubbles. You’re advised to not skip too far ahead because you’ll miss the essential context. And you can’t click back to the earlier text bubbles.
The game is full of little jokes that are supposed to make for fun gameplay, although they do take it a bit far sometimes. Below, you’re actually required to correspond with your secret office lover…
The game does give you some practice with handling possibly harmful situations that can help you prevent being hit by ransomware in the future. It’s fun to play once, but not suitable for long-term training.
The last ransomware quiz in this list is called Snack Attack. And as you can see in the trailer above, it’s epic.
In a game that feels like it took a bunch of inspiration from Star Wars, you are tasked with the responsibility to keep the organization’s network secure, make the right cyber security choices, and save the world from…
Why the game developers decided to not incorporate real-life consequences of cyber crime isn’t clear, but the principles remain the same. It’s a fun way to learn about cyber crime that can lead to data breaches.
The game doesn’t come with a free trial, so if you want to find out how it works, you’ll need to request a demo first.
How can Guardey help with preventing ransomware?
Guardey is a beginner-friendly security awareness game that trains employees on cyber security threats such as ransomware, phishing, CEO fraud, and much more.
Used by both large and smaller organizations, teams get to play weekly challenges to slowly build up cyber security knowledge. By playing weekly instead of following yearly (sleep-inducing) training, your team will become more consistently aware and less likely to fall for the traps set by cyber criminals.
With Guardey, you’ll get:
- Weekly security awareness challenges
- A leaderboard, badges, and more gamification elements to boost participation
- Monthly reports on your team’s performance
- Integrations with Microsoft Teams to make sure your team actually plays Guardey