Inspired by a passion for data security and privacy protection, SUNY Canton Associate Professor Kambiz Ghazinour created a game-based learning platform that teaches individuals to mitigate security threats online.
Noting that cybersecurity systems are only as strong as their weakest link, Ghazinour pointed out that in vast majority of cases the weakest link is human. “Current training models that rely on videos and pop quizzes to teach how to protect against cyber threats are not very effective,” he noted. “Rather than telling people what to do, I thought it would be better to have them learn through simulations.”
Ghazinour was right. Using pre- and post-game surveys and other techniques, his research team found that users demonstrated at least a 30% increase in cybersecurity knowledge after one round of play. Ghazinour launched a startup, CyberSpara, to bring his Digital-Privacy and Security Simulation (Digital-PASS) learning software to the marketplace.
In 2022, Ghazinour was awarded a SUNY TAF investment to further develop the platform, raising the total outside funding for Digital-PASS to more than $440,000. “The ‘A’ in TAF stands for accelerator and this investment, combined with the other grants we’ve received to improve our platform, put the development of our product 4-5 months ahead of schedule,” Ghazinour said.
Professor Ghazinour shares how his research has been transformed into a commercially viable product in the video below: