Title

A SERIOUS GAME TO TEACH SECURE CODING IN INTRODUCTORY PROGRAMMING: DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT AND INITIAL EVALUATION

Abstract

Reports of software related security breaches are becoming weekly occurrences. With newer high-profile attacks, secure coding and Information Assurance (IA) has become a subject of national and worldwide focus. Clearly, there is a need for computer science graduates with a background in information assurance. Unfortunately, it is not clear that there are many students pursuing advanced degrees with a focus on IA, and those who do, end up being hired out of their programs by government agencies. Given that a vast majority of programmers and software engineers do not have advanced degrees, there is an obvious need to teach these practices at the undergraduate level. A prototype serious game was designed and developed by the research team to teach secure coding practices to undergraduate students. In order to produce a valid and effective game, a usability test was performed on the two levels produced by the research team. This study sought to prove the current game is engaging and usable without further improvements. Although the game had adequate engagement, motivation, and appropriately conveyed relations of data validation and checking return values to game play, the study revealed the produced levels need to be re-worked and improved.

Date of this Version

7-25-2011

Department

Computer Graphics Technology

Department Head

Marvin Sarapin

Month of Graduation

August

Year of Graduation

2011

Degree

Masters of science

Head of Graduate Program

James Mohler, Bendrich Benes

Advisor 1 or Chair of Committee

Nicoletta Adamo-Villani

Committee Member 1

David Whittinghill

Committee Member 2

Voicu Popescu

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