How Cyber-smart Are You? Kaspersky, Mensa Put It to the Test

Kaspersky Lab and Mensa are preparing the Global Think Test, a series of online brain games meant to challenge the combination and calculation skills of participants.

On Global Think Test Day on 6 September, a global competition will be held, with the chance for those demonstrating the best combination of skills to win $25,000. The goal is to make people aware of the fact that sanity and reason are still the best weapons against many cyber-threats, Kaspersky noted.

The idea is this: because our brains are not accustomed to interaction with digital devices, criminals find it easy to create situations in which we might make wrong decisions. As social beings we are led by basic principles: trust, authority, diffusion, helpfulness, curiosity and reciprocation, all of which can be misused. Threats are evolving and it becomes more and more difficult even for experienced users to quickly decide if a website is fake or real. So we have to train our alertness – to be able to quickly decide if a situation is dangerous or not.

“Psychologists say that as humans, our behavior is often geared towards being social and shaped by limited cognitive resources. So we need to train our alertness,” the company said in a statement. “Playing games is in our DNA – but it’s also an internet phenomenon.”

It also pointed out that in a recent Kaspersky Lab survey, 29% of internet users worldwide play online games.

“Being in some sort of gaming mode means triple impact: cognitive and emotional processes are affected, leading to behavioral effects,” said Frank Schwab, media psychologist at University of Wuerzburg. “Gaming may elicit strong emotions that may influence cognitions and finally behaviors within and even beyond the game.”

He added, “We are not godlike creatures. Thus, we are not able to discern and evaluate every detailed piece of information in a complex situation. If the amount of information we have to process simultaneously is too high, the possibility of making mistakes and performing worse increases. We are simply not able to consider all the information given and to reflect about all the possible outcomes, especially under time pressure. And no one lives forever. As a result, we have to tend to mental shortcuts.”

Accordingly, the Global Think Test was designed to give participants challenges that require decision making under time pressure. Kaspersky Lab teamed up with Mensa to develop a series of challenging combinatory online games and riddles. The winner of the challenge – whoever gets the highest score in the quickest time – will become the Kaspersky Global Think Test Champion and win the grand prize. The name of the winner will be announced on 9 September.

“The brain games which were developed together with Mensa are designed to make us aware of the fact that we are often not paying enough attention to detail,” said Alexander Erofeev, CMO a Kaspersky Lab. “In today’s online world it is getting more and more important to develop a kind of digital risk literacy. Part of this is to be alert and recognize threats when we encounter them. Training this in a playful way is one of the aims of this Global Think Test Challenge, because developing these skills is as important for staying safe as installing security software.”

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