Cyberwar Gaming


To prepare for cyberwar, the military and government conduct cyberwar games. These games are role plays that are used for cybersecurity purposes. This collection provides links and descriptions of two cyber games: 1. Cyber Storm and 2. Cyber Shockwave.

War games were used during the Cold War to prepare the United States military and government for future nuclear attacks. Contexts would be given to military and government personnel (who/what/where was bombed) and people acting in various roles would pretend to make decisions based on the fictional situation. The games were not necessarily helpful in determining what actions to take if the nation was bombed. Rather, the games turned out to be good exercises for people to practice performing under stress.

Unlike the Cold War games, cyber war games give roles to people in the private sector (not just to officials). "Players" in these games "act" like various roles (i.e. Military personnel, President, Secretary of State, etc.). Most of the games are top secret and unavailable to the public. Yet, a glimpse of what might happen in these top secret cyber war games can be seen by watching Cyber Shockwave.

Some think these games truly help prepare the nation's leaders and computer experts for cyber attacks. Others are skeptical because they are fictional role plays, not based on any empirical evidence. Hopefully this collection will provide a better idea of what cyberwar gaming is and the value it holds for security.


  • Gina Bacon (University of Utah)