Permission Impossible: Teaching Firewall Configuration in a Game Environment

Sibylle Sehl, Kami Vaniea

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


Topics in Computer Security, such as firewalls, can seem inaccessible or very difficult to beginners. That perceived inaccessibility is a serious problem at a time when countries like the United Kingdom are facing a shortage of skilled computer security professionals and consequently need more students to consider careers in the area. This project aims to bridge this gap by providing an engaging and friendly game-like environment for both young computer scientists and the general public to learn about firewalls in a fun and educational way. In this work, we present the design of Permission Impossible, an online game designed to teach people both with and without a computer science background about firewalls. We discuss an iterative design process where we consulted with firewall administrators, evaluated an existing networking board game, and created our own online game. Early evaluations suggest that the game is accessible, and that people from multiple backgrounds can use it to learn about how firewall rules are constructed and how a firewall operates.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Workshop on Usable Security
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)1-891562-54-1
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 6 Apr 2018
Event3rd European Workshop on Usable Security - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Apr 2018 → …


Workshop3rd European Workshop on Usable Security
Abbreviated titleEuroUSEC 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period23/04/18 → …
Internet address


  • firewalls
  • Computer science education
  • gamification


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