Listen In: A Cybercrime Thriller Set at the University

Hectic hammering on a keyboard, a woman’s despairing voice, mysterious music in the background – something is afoot at the University of Mannheim. Why does Professor Milan cancel his lecture at the last minute without giving any reason? A crime thriller is unfolding in the baroque palace – or to be more precise, a cybercrime thriller!

And it is available for everyone to listen to: In April, the university’s information security team released the six-part podcast series ESCAPE – A Cybercrime Thriller about Information Security. In this action-packed audio drama, listeners can learn more about security risks when using IT systems and what they can do about them. 

The podcast tells the fictional story of Mannheim student Sarah Wieslinger, who launches a cyberattack against her professor. The first five episodes, which range from five to ten minutes in length, educate listeners on topics such as phishing emails, secure passwords, and backups. The sixth episode is an interview with Frederik Krist, the university’s Chief Information Security Officer. He talks about how realistic the story is and suggests some easy ways to detect cyberattacks.  

“Every day, staff and students at the university get phishing emails, and unfortunately they’re sometimes fooled by them,” stated Frederik. He and his team hope the podcast will raise awareness about information security at the university. “We want to make people aware that we’re always here to help with any security problems or questions. Our website also has more information and advice about staying safe online.”  

The information security team produced the podcast with an agency, who helped with story development and recording. “We wanted the podcast to have a connection to the University of Mannheim. So the story is set at the university and the parts of the IT staff are played by colleagues from the university’s IT department. We came up with the idea of an audio drama because we wanted to share our tips in a new and engaging way. We hope listeners will find it entertaining while also learning something at the same time.”

Text: Jessica Scholich / October 2022

The podcast ESCAPE – A Cybercrime Thriller about Information Security is available (in German) on all the main streaming platforms and at the website of the Universitäts-IT.