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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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IT game blends security and education

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Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

The Keep Aggie Traditions Secure interactive activity utilizes campus locations to educate students about cyber threats. 

Texas A&M students are solving cybersecurity challenges online and on campus in an effort to defeat the infamous hacker Bad_Bull and win an assortment of prizes.
A&M’s Division of Information Technology introduced this year’s game, Keep Aggie Traditions Secure, on Oct. 9 as part of Cyber Security Awareness Month.
The game is created annually to inform students about basic Internet safety tips. The goal of this year’s puzzle, which ends Oct. 20, is to educate A&M students about cyber security while incorporating Aggie Traditions, making the game more interactive, according to Bobby Bernshausen, communications coordinator in the Division of Information Technology.
Keep Aggie Traditions Secure is designed to raise awareness of cyber security measures that students can take to protect themselves online Bernshausen said.
“We mixed that with A&M Traditions through a storyline where you are chasing a hacker who mocks people by giving them riddles to tell them where he is going to go,” Bernshausen said. “These riddles are tradition riddles and that’s how you have to solve those. So it is a mixture between cyber security questions and riddles.”
The Division of Information Technology hopes to create a space for students to become more aware of the things they do on social media and the Internet, not only for their personal safety, but for the safety of A&M as a whole, according to Lacey Baze, associate director of Information Technology.
“A university is a large place to attack on cyber security,” Baze said. “When students at Texas A&M practice good security measures, it also keeps Texas A&M safe.”
According to Bernshausen, the IT department offered two ways to play this year’s game. The first is an online version that students can participate from anywhere. The second is an on-campus version where players physically travel to different locations.
Although Texas A&M has been creating these games for the past six years, this year is the first time the creators decided to implement both the physical and online versions, according to Madeline Richey, student worker with the IT Department and communication junior.
“I really like that the game gives you the option to do both,” Richey said. “It’s cool because it brings you to the places that speak about Aggie Traditions and it brings a new element to the game.”
When the player solves an Aggie tradition riddle, this allows the player to find the fictional hacker Bad_Bull and check in to that location. After checking in, the student is then given the next cyber security question and so on until Bad_Bull is stopped. Richey said the purpose of this is to teach students basic cyber security knowledge for everyday situations they might face.
“We had to come up with something creative and interactive to grab the student’s attention,” Baze said.
Not only do students learn about Internet safety and Aggie traditions, they also have a chance to walk away with prizes. As of Thursday evening, around 8,100 students have joined this game and each have the chance to win an eight-ounce frozen yogurt from Yogurtland, iced coffee from Blue Baker, a 12th Man Towel with a 15 percent off coupon from Aggieland Outfitters and entry into the grand prize drawing for an Apple Watch.

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