A Serious Game for Eliciting Social Engineering Security Requirements

Beckers, K. and Pape, S.

In Proceedings of the 24th IEEE International Conference on Requirements Engineering, IEEE Computer Society, RE '16 , 2016, Acceptance Rate: 22/79 = 27.8%.


Social engineering is the acquisition of information about computer systems by methods that deeply include non-technical means. While technical security of most critical systems is high, the systems remain vulnerable to attacks from social engineers. Social engineering is a technique that: (i) does not require any (advanced) technical tools, (ii) can be used by anyone, (iii) is cheap. Traditional security requirements elicitation approaches often focus on vulnerabilities in network or software systems. Few approaches even consider the exploitation of humans via social engineering and none of them elicits personal behaviours of individual employees. While the amount of social engineering attacks and the damage they cause rise every year, the security awareness of these attacks and their consideration during requirements elicitation remains negligible. We propose to use a card game to elicit these requirements, which all employees of a company can play to understand the threat and document security requirements. The game considers the individual context of a company and presents underlying principles of human behaviour that social engineers exploit, as well as concrete attack patterns. We evaluated our approach with several groups of researchers, IT administrators, and professionals from industry.

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  author    = {Kristian Beckers and Sebastian Pape},
  title     = {A Serious Game for Eliciting Social Engineering Security Requirements},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the 24th IEEE International Conference on Requirements Engineering},
  year      = {2016},
  series    = {RE '16},
  publisher = {IEEE Computer Society},
  doi       = {10.1109/RE.2016.39},
  keywords  = {SIDATE, HATCH, social engineering, security, select, serious game},
  url       = {https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7765507},