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Carve out time for Hacktober!

This Friday (Oct. 1) marks the first day of Cybersecurity Awareness Month (aka Hacktober) and kicks off a series of fun, interactive events aimed at improving everyone’s understanding of online threats and how to protect information entrusted to the state.

This year, WaTech’s state Office of Cybersecurity is adding new, fun ways to test your cybersecurity knowledge including a virtual escape room, online quiz games and weekly presentations.

Starting October 1, please make a daily visit to this page to sign up for events and learn more about the activities. Also, follow us on Twitter for more cybersecurity tips and information.

“As state employees, we are the first line of defense against criminals seeking to steal sensitive information stored on government networks or disrupt critical services that Washingtonians depend on daily,” said Bill Kehoe, Washington state’s Chief Information Officer. “With the growth in cyber threats globally, it is increasingly important for all of us to do our part in protecting data entrusted to the state.”


Cybersecurity escape room

  • Days: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday Friday,
  • Time: Noon to 1 p.m.
  • Signup: Go to this page.

Starting Oct. 1, state employees can sign up for WaTech’s virtual cybersecurity escape rooms.

There will be a total of nine sessions each day starting at noon and up to eight people can play in each game, which last 45 minutes. We encourage state employees to create teams to compete against each other for best times. WaTech will maintain a leaderboard and announce the teams with the best times on Nov. 1.

The escape rooms have a series of questions or puzzles that must be solved to advance through the game. Each player will have the opportunity to take the lead in solving a puzzle while the rest of the players shout out possible solutions. This is a cooperative team-building exercise.

To sign up, click on the storyline you want to play and reserve a day and time:

  • Born Secure: Jacob has been selected for a top-secret program that trains new recruits on how to become the world’s best cybersecurity operatives. However, first he must pass a test known by the community as the “Entrance Exam.”
  • Critical Mass Remote: Olivia hasn't shown up to work in days and her friends are starting to get worried. They visit her apartment, and their worlds are turned upside-down by what they discover - evidence of her working in the black market. Reconstruct her plans to intervene before it’s too late!
  • Secure My Life Now!: Johan, a freelance writer has just discovered he has ransomware on his computer and he doesn’t know what to do. You and your teammates will help Johan figure out his options.

Participant Tips:

  • When you sign up for a session, you will receive a confirmation email with everything you need. Double-check your date and time, and enter gameplay through the video conferencing link in the email. You will also receive a calendar invite to download!
  • Need to change your reservation? Go back to your confirmation email to do so!
  • Please allow yourself a few extra minutes to sign into and load the escape room.
  • Don't get too technical. Stay with the team and follow along with one puzzle at a time. Everything you need to solve the puzzles lives in the Evidence Locker or Exam Guide.

Questions? Please contact Jennifer Somnis at the state Office of Cybersecurity.

Kahoot! Quiz games

WaTech’s Office of Cybersecurity will host a cybersecurity quiz competition on Microsoft Teams each Monday at noon, starting Oct. 4. A member of OCS’ security team will be on hand to guide players through the quiz and answer questions at the end.

After the Monday session, a link will be posted so state employees can play the quiz at their convenience. A new quiz will be posted each Monday.


Cybersecurity awareness presentations

All presentations will be on Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m., starting on Oct. 1. Microsoft Teams links to the presentations will be posted the day of the event.

 Third-Party Data Handling Risks

Please join Katy Ruckle, Washington state’s chief privacy officer for a presentation on Due Diligence to Manage Third-Party Data Handling Risks. Katy’s webinar will go through important considerations before and after entering into an agreement with a third party that includes sharing personal information.

Do bad things happen on Windows? 

Jesse Moore, Senior Cybersecurity Advisor for the University of Washington, will address that question in a discussion that delves into how humans need to think through the steps the attacker takes inside a network and not just focus on the result such as a ransomware desktop background.

Explore. Experience. Share. 

Please join state Chief Information Security Office Vinod Brahmapuram for his presentation on the Cybersecurity Awareness Month weekly theme: Explore. Experience. Share. 

Cyberwarfare: Welcome to the Frontline

Please join Tarek Idriss, assistant professor of computer science at Western Washington University, for his presentation: "Cyberwarfare: Welcome to the Frontline."  The talk will discuss the high stakes in cyberspace and illustrate how personal responsibility and awareness are a priority for our safety.