Serious Games in Cyber Security Education (Usable Access Control Games)

Program Code: 

Dr Nalin Asanka Gamagedara Arachchilage


Description of Work: 

Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS) is a world-class internationally recognised interdisciplinary research and teaching Centre, specialising in a broad range of areas in Cyber Security. ACCS is seeking prospective PhD students that are interested to undertake in the newly available research project of Serious Games in Cyber Security Education (usable access control games). This project is aimed to develop a game design framework, which enhances the individuals' behavior through their motivation to adhere to best practices when setting up access controls. 

The motivation for this work is that existing security mechanisms have been partially successful in promoting security solutions, however, in many instances these controls are less than perfect, and are used instead of a more appropriate set of controls. 

Corporate resources could interrupt an organization's smooth operations and have immediate, serious financial, legal, human safety, personal privacy and public confidence impact. The approach of this project will be, firstly to develop a game design framework, parameterized by the individuals or organizations own circumstances. The developed game design framework will be informed by an empirical investigation (e.g., Human-Centered Design), and validated through interviews/ questionnaire surveys with a considerable sample of representative individuals.

Secondly, the elements of the framework will be used to develop a game for both the mobile and desktop platforms, which allows the individual to enhance their behavior though motivation to adhere to best practices when setting up access controls. 

The proposed work is based on the notion that not only can a computer game provide an education and training, but also games potentially provide a better learning and training environment, because game based education and training motivate the user and keep attention by providing immediate feedback. 

Applicants of exceptional research potential can apply for Scholarships from the University of New South Wales. Further information regarding the available Scholarships and how to apply is available at:


Skills Required:

Prospective candidates will have a Bachelor’s (First Class with Honours) or Master’s degree (with Distinction) in Computer Science, Cyber Security or Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and a strong passion for study human factors in cyber security.                                                                                                               

Good programming skills (such as rapid prototyping using programming tools, for example, Java, Android SDK, JavaScript or PhP) are mandatory and previous coding experience is a plus. Applicants who have hands-on experience and skill in HCI design, rapid prototyping and evaluation approaches are certainly welcome to apply.

Prospective candidates can forward their CV including GPA and discuss the particular projects or application process with Nalin Asanka on

Dr Nalin Asanka Gamagedara Arachchilage is a Lecturer in Cyber Security at the Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy). He holds a PhD in Usable Security from the Brunel University London, UK where he developed a game design framework to protect computer users against “phishing attacks”. His research is inter-disciplinary in nature and has published numerous articles at reputed international conferences and journals. Apart from his academic career, Nalin has also worked on a number of software engineering roles ranging from Programmer, Software Engineer and IT Manager.