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Supporting Grades 6-12

Since April 2016, Cyber Threat Defender (CTD) has been teaching middle and high school students worldwide about essential cybersecurity information and defense strategies. Created as a multi-player, collectible card game, CTD is designed for anyone aged 11 and up.

This game supports technology and cybersecurity learning objectives in the classroom, and is a fun and easy-to-play game at home or among friends!

With an average game lasting 20 minutes, CTD players learn basic cybersecurity terminology and reinforce their understandings of a network infrastructure. Players also learn about the relationships between cyber-attacks and defense counter measures, real-world challenges, historical information connected to this STEM field, and much more.

To successfully defeat an opponent, players must develop and implement a strategy for expanding and protecting their network. Because CTD is designed to be fun first, players learn basic and complex cybersecurity concepts and strategies through repetitive play.

In addition to the card game being available in both English and Spanish, the English version is available as a free digital download!

Complementary Classroom Resources

The CIAS, in partnership with cybersecurity teachers, education partners and UTSA professors, continue to develop turnkey materials for use in the classroom. Below, you will find an initial set of classroom materials to be used in conjunction with Cyber Threat Defender. These materials are meant to instruct how to play the game, reinforce cybersecurity topics and test a student’s knowledge of information learned.

Middle and high school teachers can also request one complementary classroom box. Each box contains 25 Cyber Threat Defender starter decks, which supports up to 25 students per class. To request your box, visit

You can also become immersed in the world of network defense and cyber-attacks with this easy-to-play game by ordering your own personal card deck and/or game accessories through the online store here.

Learn to Play Cyber Threat Defender!

If you’re interested in learning how to play Cyber Threat Defender, download the CTD rulebook below or watch our videos on YouTube. Our videos show you a game being played, introduce the various card types and more!

To learn how to play or teach Cyber Threat Defender, simply download the free rulebook! It explains the game’s objectives, how to set-up a game, keep score and illustrates how to move through a full round of play.

To assist in classroom instruction, use the presentation slides on how to play Cyber Threat Defender. It shows the anatomy of card, common game mechanics, how scoring works, recommended layout for playing and more!

Free Testing Tool

Free Testing Tool for Instructors: Pyramid of Knowledge

Designed to deliver tests and quizzes, Pyramid of Knowledge is a free, downloadable tool that helps educators keep students engaged in a quiz-show style interface. Ideal for computer labs and distance learning, Pyramid of Knowledge supports automated scoring, randomized answer positioning and multiple-choice options for any subject matter. This tool is preloaded with STEM quizzes connected to cybersecurity, math and history, but it’s ideal for educators interested in creating their own custom quizzes.

A point-and-click trivia game, Pyramid of Knowledge engages students with simple dialogue and quiz features as the “game” progresses. Since this tool mirrors an interactive game platform, educators can assess a player’s knowledge in a less stressful environment. Games also enable students to retain their subject matter through repetitive “game” play, without feeling the stress of taking a test.

Additional Resources & Curricula

not endorsed or affiliated with the CIAS


Funded by a grant, CYBER.ORG provides cybersecurity curricula at no cost to K-12 educators within the United States and territories. Their curricula includes an introduction to cybersecurity, cybersecurity basics, cyber literacy, IT fundamentals, computational thinking and coding fundamentals. Sign up today!

National Cryptologic Foundation

The NCF provides a regular Podcast, electronic games and curriculum to support cybersecurity education.


CyberSeek is an interactive tool that provides detailed, actionable data about supply and demand in the cybersecurity job market.


Designed by teachers in consultation with industry professionals, this curriculum consists of three standalone, six-week units aligned to educational standards that can be integrated into a variety of subjects. Included with the curriculum are lesson plans, activities, videos and handouts. (Make sure to check out Lesson 5: Cyber Warfare in their Cyber Ethics unit; Cyber Threat Defender is included as an activity!)

What Other Educators Think

Tim Cathcart Knox County Schools

I've used Cyber Threat Defender for three years in a row now, and it is a great way to engage my high school students!  They like the gaming interaction, and it helps shape their cybersecurity-related thinking while sneaking in some educational concepts.  I am deeply grateful for receiving the physical and electronic product for free — it's often difficult to get funding for high school cybersecurity courses and so free and useful resources like CTD are amazing!! Thanks for all you do.

Kala Jo Grice-Dobbins Technology Classes Teacher
Sparkman Middle School

I have used the card game to help teach my cyber patriots about threats and how to defend them before we get into putting these tasks into action. We LOVE the card game.

Jason Smith Computer Science Teacher
Benjamin Logan High School

My students love playing Cyber Threat Defender. We use it in my computer repair course, and it is really the only exposure to security they get. I find that as they continue to play the game and get used to the available cards, they are also getting a basic understanding of the different threats and security features that are out there. They also start getting a good idea of the need for different layers of defence to combat different types of attacks. Sometimes I have students in different courses later on (after they have taken the computer repair course) and they all ask if they will get to play the game again.

Nikki Parker District Testing & Academic Coordinator
Iraan High School

Awesome, thank you so much! My students have been diving into the game and have enjoyed learning how to play. The use of vocabulary has been amazing, and the conversations have been on track with what I have been wanting them to talk about during computer science class. Thank you for a great game! It has been welcomed with enthusiasm!

Michael Maldonado Ronald McNair Middle School

This is a really great investment and a great way to bring kids into the world of cyber!

Nicky DeBolt Highland Ranch High School

I became the greatest teacher in the world when I told the students we will be having a card tournament ... The students really enjoyed it!