Alternative Reality Game (ARG): Exploring the Impact on Cybersecurity and the Hiring Process

Welcome to the fascinating world of ARGs, or Alternate Reality Games. Let’s learn how they are used in cybersecurity and even in the hiring process.

What is ARG?

ARG (Alternate Reality Games) – are interactive online games that use the real world as a platform to create an immersive historical narrative. They blur the lines between reality and virtuality, offering new forms of interaction with the world around us. The main feature of ARGs is their ability to make players act and think in ways they would not do in ordinary life.

The most famous ARG:

Cicada 3301

Cicada 3301 is one of the most mysterious ARGs that attracts attention with its complex puzzles and cryptography. This game has crossed several platforms and countries, hiding clues in the most unexpected places – both in digital and physical form, even on different continents.

I Love Bees

I Love Bees is another ARG that was created as part of an advertising campaign for the Halo 2 video game. It contained many cybersecurity-related tasks and pushed players to explore the real world to find clues and solve puzzles.

The Beast

One of the most famous and popular examples of ARG is The Beast, developed by Microsoft as part of the advertising campaign for the movie AI: Artificial Intelligence. Users encountered puzzles and codes hidden in trailers and promotional materials that led to a detailed virtual world representing the future from the movie. The puzzles required the use of various skills, from coding to archaeology, and contained real-world elements, such as billboards and calls to real phone numbers.

Year Zero

Year Zero is another famous ARG created as part of the advertising campaign for the Nine Inch Nails album of the same name. It led to the creation of a whole virtual world depicting a dystopian future in which the state oppresses its citizens. Users encountered puzzles and information distributed through various platforms and resources, from websites to physical objects in the real world. This ARG has become known for its complexity and depth, as well as its unique integration with the music of Nine Inch Nails.

ARG: Recruitment for intelligence agencies

It’s hard to imagine, but ARGs are sometimes used to select unique specialists. There is speculation that Cicada 3301 was created by the intelligence services to select intellectually gifted individuals for secret missions. Likewise, some companies use ARGs to select talented candidates by testing their problem-solving and creative thinking skills.

But ARGs aren’t just fun and helpful in hiring – they also play an important role in teaching and demonstrating cybersecurity skills. With ARGs, cybersecurity professionals can put their skills to work by solving complex problems and puzzles.

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