03 October 2023

Abertay University creates video game exposing mobile phone scam risks

'Gone Smishing' was developed by Konglomerate Games together with academics from Abertay

Gone Smishing: designed by the city’s Konglomerate Games in conjunction with Abertay University’s School of Design and Informatics

A city visitor attraction has unveiled an innovative new game that was developed by a Dundee-based games company and Abertay University academics to educate young people on the dangers of mobile phone scams.

Dundee Science Centre has installed ‘Gone Smishing’, an interactive game designed by award-winning Konglomerate Games in collaboration with academics from Abertay University’s School of Design and Informatics.

The game aims to enhance public awareness about the dangers of phishing emails and SMS messages, commonly referred to as 'smishing.' These messages often employ deceptive tactics to coax recipients into divulging sensitive information, such as passwords or financial details.

Three out of five Britons have received a smishing message in the last year and over £1.2 billion was stolen by criminals through authorised and unauthorised fraud in 2022, equivalent to over £2,300 every minute. 

The idea to make the game came about after Dr Lynsay Shepherd, senior lecturer in cybersecurity and human-computer interaction at Abertay, secured a grant from the National Cyber Security Centre.

Dr Shepherd then joined forces with Konglomerate Games, a studio established in 2019 by a group of Abertay graduates. Together, they have crafted two educational games, with 'Gone Smishing' being the inaugural release, all geared towards promoting phishing awareness.

Dr Shepherd said:

There are various bits of education out there but they’re often a bit dry and neither interactive or engaging so we thought computer games would get around that and help raise awareness. The data we collect, essentially what pitfalls people are most susceptible to, will be fed back into our research, ultimately making it even harder for criminals to prey on society in the future. As an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education, we’re passionate about sharing our research with the wider public so it’s fantastic to see the game being so well received by visitors to Dundee Science Centre.

Konglomerate Games emerged on the gaming scene in 2019, founded by a group of Abertay graduate students led by Jamie Bankhead.

Since its inception, the company has demonstrated its versatility by developing a diverse array of 'serious' games. Among its projects, Konglomerate Games has crafted a game aimed at aiding children with cystic fibrosis. Additionally, they have ventured into the field of healthcare by creating a game designed to assist in the detection and diagnosis of eye conditions.

Jamie Bankhead, CEO of Konglomerate Games, said:

As a company, we focus on improving lives through games, having already developed a physio game for young people with brain conditions and developing a game that helps detect and diagnose eye conditions. We were delighted to work with Abertay on these new phishing games which will help users identify some of the increasingly sophisticated scamming methods doing the rounds.

Lorraine Lemon, Head of Business Development at Dundee Science Centre, said:

We are always keen to showcase the tangible outcomes of university research, particularly on issues as prevalent as this, and which can have such devastating effects. Like so many things, cyber security is about prevention and awareness, so I’d urge as many of our visitors to give it a go and contribute to longer-term research to further improve cyber-security.

Find out more information about Abertay University’s Division of Cybersecurity.

Share This

Pause carousel

Play carousel