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Webb Shell

Webb Shell thinks he is a tough guy that knows how to hack things.

Photo of Alaina Nicol

Written by

Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)

Sketch 2 (1,500 characters)

Mr. Webb Shell is a visual exploration of what a webshell is and how it works. Despite his rugged demeanor, Mr. Shell is vulnerable.

What have you learned through this sketching process? (1,000 characters)

I learned that there aren't many visuals that eloquently describe what a webshell is.

Tell us more about you. (1,000 characters)

My name is Alaina — a strategic designer, web developer, and artist from California. I am the founder of Visual Adapter, my digital studio that solves important challenges through research driven design.


What is your experience with the field of cybersecurity?

  • I have minimal experience and/or knowledge in the cybersecurity field.

What best describes you?

  • I’m a professional visual creator freelancer.

How did you hear about this OpenIDEO Challenge?

  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)

Location: City

Temecula, CA, USA

Location: Country

  • United States of America

What opportunity areas are you covering with this final portfolio? (250 characters)

Wildcard was presumed to be assigned. Reviewing my final entries, I believe it would be appropriate to label the opportunity areas covered as: hackers and hacking, trustworthiness, digital privacy, surveillance, cyber conflic, and wildcard.

Final Portfolio (1,500 characters)

Image one is meant to describe what a web shell is. His demeanor is consistent with our generalized perception a hacker; secretive, capable, confident, and mischievous, always working quickly and efficiently towards his goal. Image two shows how the web shell infiltrates. He successfully installs himself into a device through a vulnerable portal and enables control. Image three depicts what happens. The web shell gains access to personal information in an otherwise confidential setting. Image four is intended to convey the human element of cyber security; promoting informed and cautionary implementation of technology, and the ability to overcome these challenges. When care is taken to protect data and devices, the threat can be mitigated and/or neutralized.

How would you summarize your final portfolio in 100 words or less? (650 characters)

Webb Shell is a visual, somewhat literal, discovery of the concept of what a web shell is. I approached this challenge without previous knowlege of this cyber threat so I based the intention of this story under the same premise - to educate the general public in few words, or visuals in this instance.

Briefly describe your imagined use case for the work in your portfolio. (250 characters)

I created this to be dynamic. I believe it would be appropriate for, but not limited to: editorial use, educational publications, and social media marketing.

What was the most useful feedback that you received? (1,000 characters)

Ray was a blessing to be able to discuss this topic with. His background as both an educator and a cyber security expert was very helpful. His analogies and feedback about web shells helped me to hone in on the subject matter.

How have your concepts evolved since the Ideas Phase? (1,000 characters)

Yes, my concepts did evolve! The further I designed, the more I understood and the more confident I felt in attempting to contribute in this challenge.

How have you been able to incorporate technical accuracy into your concepts? (1000 characters)

I believe I have. I spent over 24 hours on the entirety of these images, focusing on symmetry, color theory, and story tone.

How do your concepts expand the conversation on cybersecurity? (1000 characters)

I believe my concepts help to open the conversation to the general public. I also think that my concepts enable anyone using or discussing them the opportunity to percieve multiple points of view, strengths and weaknesses, and leaves it open for discussion about how to resolve.

If you were provided with additional time and resources, are there additional ways that you’d wish to reimagine the visual language of cybersecurity? (1,000 characters)

I would probably create more characters to add depth to this story. My knowledge about this threat is still so limited, and I can see the value in developing a larger project to outline more key points.

What resources did you find most helpful? (optional, 1,000 characters)

My discussion with my assigned mentor was very helpful.

Commitment to Creative Commons License (CC BY 4.0)

  • Yes, I ensure that my portfolio is in compliance with CC BY 4.0.

Attachments (1)


Join the conversation:

Photo of Dima Boulad

I'm so glad to see the progress of this idea and the sketches into your final portfolio Alaina Nicol .As the review team is going through all submissions, I would like to take this chance to thank you for your participation in this Challenge and your dedication to this important and complex topic. Watch this space as we announce the top picks!

Photo of Alaina Nicol

Thank you, Dima! It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve learned a lot participating. Thank you for the opportunity and all of the resources and interactive discussions :)

Photo of Bronney Hui

Why you closed the laptop on Mr Shell :( Poor boy :(
Love it!

Photo of Aswin BeHera

Really like the colors!

Mr. Webb Shell's infiltration story feels amusing.

It reminds me of a recent indie game that was released this month, *Untitled Goose Game*. Here, you play as a goose with the sole objective of annoying the humans :D. It's quite fun.

Perhaps Mr. Webb Shell's character arc can evolve to such an engagement in the future, popping from our electronic devices and traveling through the internet to annoy careless humans.

Here's the trailer for the game. This may help you imagine the scenario I am imagining.

Photo of Alaina Nicol

Thank you, Aswin! Your feedback is quite endearing �� after watching that video I can see what you mean and I think that would be a very fitting evolution for this concept! Webb Shell is rather playful.. and I really like the key point you addressed about careless humans. A cautionary tale. Wouldn’t it be liberating if developers were just as well versed in security as they are aesthetic? I really enjoyed your commentary, it got me thinking!

Photo of Aswin BeHera

Yes. The journey ahead, is one of more learning.
You could think of the ways Mr. Webb Shell could annoy humans. It will be a good way to pass time :D.

Photo of Alaina Nicol

�� Wilco!

Photo of Dima Boulad

Very interesting to create a character to personalize vulnerability Alaina Nicol ! How would you push your submission further and portray Mr Webb Shell in context, to make the situation more relatable? Perhaps this resource might help:
I can’t wait to see how this progresses next, and don't forget to check out Hewlett's tip of the week on the brief page!

Photo of Leila Woolheater

Hi Alaina. I noticed that you didn’t have your attachment on the sketch 1 area yet. It’s just on the main contribution’s attachment area. There’s a chance that more of the other contributors will notice your entry if it’s also attached to the sketch 1 area because it looks like that is what’s also used as the thumbnail image on the pages of contributions. I just wanted to let you know in case the information helps.

Photo of Alaina Nicol

Thank you Leila! I wasn’t aware the attachment didn’t upload — much gratitude to you!