thinking like an adversary and the kobayashi maru

Star Trek’s Kobayashi Maru; a starship captain is given an unwinnable exercise during academy training, but protagonist James T. Kirk cheats and beats the system through outside-the-box thinking. In the paper, Embracing the Kobayashi Maru: Why You Should Teach Your Students to Cheat (pdf), Greg Conti describes the ways students cheat on an exam, and why this lessons matters.

We’ve always been taught to color inside the lines, stick to the rules, and never ever cheat, but in seeking cybersecurity, we must drop that mindset. It’s difficult to defeat a creative and determined adversary who must find only a single flaw among myriad defensive measures to be successful. We must not tie our hands — and our intellects — at the same time. If we truly wish to create the best possible information security professionals, being able to think like an adversary is an essential skill.

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