NORTHPORT, NY, December 10, 2014Secure Decisions, the cyber security division of Applied Visions, Inc., has received an award from the Department of Homeland Security, Science & Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) to develop technology for cyber security education. The goal is to develop CyberWISE (Web-based Interactive Stories for [Cyber] Education), a tool to simplify and accelerate the creation and delivery of interactive educational materials for safe computing awareness. Secure Decisions will partner with Stony Brook University under this DHS S&T contract.

CyberWISE will help educators and cyber security experts develop interactive, comic-like curriculum aimed at educating middle-school children about the pitfalls of unsafe computer usage. The curriculum development technology uses branching, graphic stories, or choose-your-own-adventure (CYOA) comics, to teach kids about how to avoid the latest threats to security and privacy. CYOA comics are an effective tool for learning how to respond to risky situations, like cyber security, and appeal to learners of all ages. Learners will follow a character’s decisions about risky computing activities and make choices for the character (“go ahead and click on the link”; “yes, download that attachment!”) that can change the direction of the storyline and ultimately affect the character’s exposure to security and privacy risks, giving the learner an opportunity to make decisions and see both the positive and negative consequences of those decisions in a safe environment.

Stand-alone, disparate tools exist to create web-based comics, but no single solution provides support for both integrating curricular goals and handling branching stories as needed for the safe computing curriculum. Existing solutions may also require support from programmers or artists. CyberWISE will integrate existing tools and technologies to provide a complete workflow with a consistent user interface. CyberWISE also leverages “ShortCut”, a web-based collaborative framework for rapid development of serious games that facilitates knowledge exchange between subject matter experts and designers of interactive curriculum. Short Cut was previously developed by Secure Decisions under a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research contract (# FA8650-08-C-6858) funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory. “By providing an integrated framework and enabling non-programmer and non-artist Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to develop these CYOA stories as curricular materials, CyberWISE will lower both production time and costs for creating graphic, branching stories for safe computing awareness,” said Laurin Buchanan, Principal Investigator for CyberWISE. “As technology brings new and different risks, CyberWISE will enable cyber security experts to both rapidly inform the public about these risks, and provide educators the key concepts, learning objectives, and illustrative stories needed for new lessons.”

Dr. Lori Scarlatos, an Associate Professor of Educational Technology, Department of Technology & Society, College of Engineering & Applied Sciences at Stony Brook will serve as a consultant on the project, providing expertise in learning science, and the use of computing technology in the classroom.

CyberWISE will help cyber security SMEs and educators:
• Create new, interactive cyber security curriculum that is engaging to learners across many age groups
• Articulate key concepts and specific learning objectives such as best practices, unsafe practices, and mitigations to cyber threats, and link them to illustrative stories
• Create branching, graphic stories for safe computing CYOA comics in days, not weeks.

CyberWISE will enable DHS S&T to promote a streamlined, affordable method for educators and other safe computing advocates to rapidly produce CYOA comics that can be used in curriculum development. It is anticipated that CyberWISE will be available to the DHS target audience with no recurring software license fees.

This work was funded under DHS S&T contract HSHQDC-14-C-B0019.

Additional Resources:
To learn more about CyberWISE, visit:
To learn more about the DHS Science & Technology research and technologies to protect the homeland, visit:
To learn more about Stony Brook University, visit:

Secure Decisions Contact Info:
Secure Decisions
6 Bayview Avenue
Northport, NY 11768
(631) 759-3993
[email protected]

Stony Brook Contact Info:
Stony Brook University; Office of Media Relations
315 Administration Building
Stony Brook, NY 11794-0701
(631) 632-6310
[email protected]

About Applied Visions and Secure Decisions
Secure Decisions was launched as a division of Applied Visions, Inc. (AVI) in 2000 to focus on cyber security and homeland security research and products. Today, Secure Decisions is a leader in security visualization with an established track record of R&D contracts, technology transition, and product development in areas such as cyber security education and visualizations for cyber defense, software assurance and test support services. Secure Decisions’ technologies such as Code Dx®, Code Pulse™, VIAssist™, and MeerCAT® are used to enhance the situational awareness of software developers and security professionals in government and commercial organizations. For more information, please visit

About Stony Brook University
Part of the State University of New York system, Stony Brook University encompasses 200 buildings on 1,450 acres. Since welcoming its first incoming class in 1957, the University has grown tremendously, now with more than 25,000 students, 2,200 faculty and 20 NCAA Division I athletic programs. Its membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. One of four University Center campuses in the SUNY system, Stony Brook University co-manages Brookhaven National Laboratory, putting it in an elite group of universities that run federal research and development laboratories. As the largest single-site employer on Long Island, Stony Brook is a driving force of the regional economy.


The views and conclusions contained herein are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies or endorsements, either expressed or implied, of Department of Homeland Security or the U.S. Government. All trademarks, trade names, service marks, and logos referenced herein belong to their respective parties.

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!