Cyber Innovation Series 2022/23: GICAST

Posted on: 07/02/2023

The next finalist in our Cyber Innovation Series, ahead of this year’s CyberASAP Demo Day, is GICAST.

Using game mechanics and personalised training, GICAST aims to help businesses better understand their workforce’s cyber security behaviour and create lasting behavioural transformation.

The team behind GICAST will be in attendance at our sixth annual CyberASAP Demo Day on 22 February, where they’ll be presenting their pitch and demonstrating their Proof of Concept, alongside 14 other finalists.

Register here.



95% of cyber security breaches are a result of human error, yet the cyber security awareness programmes currently available to businesses offer no real evidence or insight into the security behaviours of the workforce.

More than 51% of UK businesses have a basic cyber security skills gap, with over 40% of businesses having experienced some kind of cyber attack in the past year. With the average cost of such attacks estimated at £30,000, employers need to enhance the security of their organisation to minimise potential threats.

In order to reduce the risk from human error, employers need insight into the individual attitudes and behaviours of their workforce when it comes to cyber security. At present, this type of data is not available. The majority of cyber security awareness training methods are merely a tick-box exercise, using a one-size-fits-all approach and offering no demonstrable reduction in risk.

GICAST is designed to transform humans from the weakest link in cyber security to the strongest ally by enabling lasting security behavioural transformation. The game-based cyber behaviour assessment and skills training platform will offer insight into employee behaviour through the power of game mechanics and learner behavioural analytics. This will allow businesses to better understand their workforce and take the right action.

The current version of GICAST was launched in January 2021, and has now been completed by more than a thousand learners. Story-based narrative and game mechanics offer an engaging and safe place for training, with 79% declaring an improvement in their cyber security behaviours as a result.

Now the team behind GICAST are looking to raise investment to enhance the games with sophisticated analytics and package them as a scalable SaaS product for businesses within the critical infrastructure sector, including:

  • Utilities and energy
  • Transport and storage
  • Finance and insurance
  • Administrative and support
  • Public admin and defence

The game-play environment of GICAST will offer the end-users a fun, engaging and safe environment to learn, whilst learner behavioural analytics will help to personalise security training based on individuals’ security behaviour. GICAST will analyse data associated with users’ security attitudes, learning styles and perception of risk, including how users think, reason and decide.

This will help businesses to reduce security risks and threats due to human factors, increase  compliance with security policies and protocols, and create long-lasting behavioural change. It will also help them apply the right levers to enhance their security posture and optimise their time, effort and budget. As a result, they can make strategic decisions and focus on the right areas of their business, while maintaining their reputation.


Meet the GICAST Team

GICAST is the brainchild of Dr Chitra Balakrishna, who launched the current version of the project in January 2021 as a badged open course. With over a thousand learners having completed the original course, the team are now looking to transform GICAST into a full suite of cyber awareness games powered by learner behavioural analytics.

The project is supported by a team of software developers from Animorph Co-op and the Business Development Unit (BDU), the commercial wing of the Open University that will offer the sales and marketing expertise. GICAST is also supported by early adopters including SSE and West Midlands Police.

The team are seeking investment to help them build a commercially viable product from their finished Proof of Concept. They hope to empower employees and employers, enabling them to operate as a team to enhance the overall security posture of the business. In doing so, they aim to change the mindset of businesses to begin seeing their workforce as collaborators and co-creators, instead of as a problem.


Meet them at our Demo Day

Join us on Wednesday 22 February 2023 and be among the first to preview the team’s innovation, alongside a whole host of exciting cyber products and services from leading UK academic teams. Hear their pitches and learn more about each project in this unique showcase of ready-to-commercialise cyber innovations. Register here.


About CyberASAP

CyberASAP (Cyber Security Academic Startup Accelerator Programme) is the only pre-seed accelerator programme in the cyber ecosystem which provides expertise, knowledge and support to convert academic research into commercial products and services.

CyberASAP is funded by the UK Government Department for Science, Innovation & Technology (DSIT) and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK and Innovate UK KTN.

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