How Could Serious Games Support Secure Programming? Designing a Study Replication and Intervention

Manuel Maarek, Leon McGregor, Sandy Louchart, Ross McMenemy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Citations (Scopus)
149 Downloads (Pure)


While developing and deploying software continue to be more broadly accessible, so is the problem caused by these systems' security not being considered enough by their developers and maintainers. We propose to address this developer-centred security issue with serious games (games for which entertainment is not the main purpose) as a means to motivate developers to consider security threats when developing. We have developed a serious game around secure and non-secure programming exercises to investigate if serious gamification helps to improve attitudes or ability with secure programming. We detail the design choices of the game and how it relates to the programming tasks. In particular we present the design choices we made with the intention to replicate a prior study and discuss the tension that arose between replication and intervention. We discuss the results of a pilot study we conducted and present the steps we plan to take going forward into larger studies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2019 IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy Workshops (EuroS&PW)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781728130262
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2019
EventEuroUSEC European Workshop on Usable Security 2019 - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 20 Jun 201920 Jun 2019
Conference number: 4


WorkshopEuroUSEC European Workshop on Usable Security 2019
Abbreviated titleEuroUSEC 2019
Internet address


  • Developer centred security
  • Secure programming
  • Serious game intervention
  • Serious games
  • Study replication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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