How do you tackle the growing problem of cybersecurity vulnerabilities? As it turns out, assistance might come from a seemingly unlikely place: the eSports industry.
As the first US Cyber Games kick off, you might be wondering what part TikTok plays in fighting hackers. So why could eSports prove valuable to the cybersecurity world? How is TikTok helping to support the competition?
Cybersecurity Enthusiasts Love to Compete
The eSports industry centers on competitive gaming. It’s been part of the societal culture for longer than people might think. For example, a site called GosuGamers appeared in 2002 as a hobby site for the competitive activity. It’s now one of the most reputable sites for eSports enthusiasts.
People passionate about cybersecurity often show off their skills at competitions all over the world. The President’s Cup Cybersecurity Competition and CyberFirst Girls Competition are a couple of examples. Google also recently held its annual ethical hacking contest, in which participants had the chance to win more than $30,000.
Besides helping sharpen cybersecurity skills, these events help people get to know like-minded individuals as they give and get support. The gaming community has close-knit relationships too, with many professional and amateur participants frequently seeing each other on the competitive circuit.
Crossover Between Gamers and Cybersecurity Lovers
It's often say that gaming helps people learn skills to excel in the cybersecurity realm. For example, some academic professionals rank problem-solving as the most important skill for a person pursuing any computer science career. Many top video games require players to show that trait, particularly when completing missions to advance through levels.
It’s also advantageous that many of today’s gamers and cybersecurity enthusiasts are people who grew up using devices with screens. Both groups are extremely comfortable in a digital-first world, and the people in these segments may even specifically look forward to spending their work and leisure time in front of screens.
People receiving cybersecurity training also frequently experience simulated settings similar to what gaming titles feature. In one instance, the Rochester Institute of Technology collaborated with IBM to make its curriculum more interactive. The institution became one of the first to offer immersive scenarios for cybersecurity students.
A report published in 2020 warned that hackers are increasingly targeting eSports competitors and events. More specifically, between July 2018 and June 2020, there were 152 million web application attacks against the gaming sector.
However, if more cybersecurity enthusiasts become gamers, online criminals may eventually decide to look for industries they perceive as easier hits.
eSports-Cybersecurity Partnerships Exist Already
There are increasingly blurred lines between the eSports and cybersecurity industries.
Renowned security brand Kaspersky signed a deal with London-based eSports company Fnatic. The agreement has the two working on digital content. Plus, the attire worn by the League of Legends academy team features the security brand’s name.
Back in 2018, the Kaspersky Lab became a technological partner for the Spanish eSports team the Vodafone Giants. More specifically, the former company provided antivirus software for the players.
TikTok became involved in a cybersecurity esports competition too. Its sponsorship could get more people interested in internet security while simultaneously encouraging cyber experts to participate in gaming.
How Could TikTok Further Cybersecurity eSports?
People commonly think of TikTok as primarily a social and entertainment site, but it is also a founding member of the first ever US Cyber Games.
That multi-event competition began earlier in 2021 with the US Cyber Open. Participants aged 18- 26 showed their aptitude during a two-week contest filled with virtual cybersecurity challenges. They also completed skills evaluations, interviewed with coaches, and trained weekly.
The next segment of the US Cyber Games occurs on October 5, 2021, as a “draft day.” It invites the nation’s top 20 participants to join a team of cybersecurity enthusiasts from across the country. They’ll represent the United States at the 2021 International Cyber Security Challenge, which happens in Athens, Greece, in December.
This effort is part of a larger endeavor to find and support the best and brightest individuals who possess cybersecurity knowledge.
TikTok is not the only company associated with the contest, of course. However, its extraordinary popularity could go a long way in further bridging the gap between the cybersecurity and eSports communities.
Will the US Cyber Games Break New Ground?
The cybersecurity skills shortage is a much-discussed problem, and it’s time to explore creative solutions. The US Cyber Games could spotlight some of the most talented young people interested in internet security. It may also help them network and find future work.
It’s too early to say for sure whether cybersecurity will soon have a more prominent presence in the eSports sector. However, numerous signs strongly suggest it’ll happen. If you know people from the cybersecurity and eSports communities, consider helping them cross paths. They may find plenty of shared interests and common goals.