Adventures of a Curious Character!
We revel along with an inquisitive character (you) taking pleasure in finding things out. Here we explore the abstract land of cybersecurity
Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)
I have tried to make an Interactive Demo to illustrate the point that we as Humans are unknowingly making it easier day-by-day for certain individuals and organisations to collect all the data they can about us. Be it our browsing interests, our online opinions, our purchases, our location or even giving them access to our files.
We as netizens contribute to a hotchpotch of a concoction, which is later mined by opportunists to create meaning, generating a psuedo-personality of all our wants and desires.
I have made a motif of the All-Seeing Eye, as it will be easier for the common person to understand. Later, I would like to increase the complexity of the concept making the illustration more interactive to reveal more information. A part of a series, which will explain the causal effects of all the things we do online.
Interact with Demo at https://codepen.io/aswinbehera/pen/YzKqQrx
A Video showing the Interactive Demo of the concept I proposed. <br>
Interact with the demo at https://codepen.io/aswinbehera/pen/YzKqQrx
Sketch 2 (1,500 characters)
As an average individual, what are the vulnerabilities we possess on the World Wide Web?
I tried to make an interactive demo where a person can hover over a "normal" person's image and see what they should keep more guarded and be cautious about. Are the passwords we use on the various social sites and for Banking the same? And are they unique enough not to be cracked easily? Do we allow third party services or the services to trust with more than they are allowed to? Why does this "app" always ask for my location even though they don't need it? Who keeps track of all my browsing even after I leave their sites? These are some of the questions an average individual should be aware of.
Check the Interactive demo:
Welcome to the Limbo.
Our online lives and all its secrets are easily accessible to the person who has the right tools.
The side we see.
The side some capable opportunist could see.
What have you learned through this sketching process? (1,000 characters)
Much of the field of Cyber-Security is built on abstract concepts. Explaining these would require a deep understanding, hence I had to read about the common perspective that the general populace has.
I like to remain informed about the various developments in the Cyber world, but it doesn't matter to a large part of the population. Hence, I had to show the illustration to my Mom to check whether see understood or not. Then I forwarded the same to some of my computing-teetotaler friends. I had to make adjustments, to bring out more meaning. Though the illustration still remains biased towards my understanding of the problem.
Tell us more about you. (1,000 characters)
I am an Mechanical Engineer by degree, but I developed interest in Designing during my college days.
Now, I am working on a company focused on developing interactive solutions to make students learn complex concepts. I am learning all the tools required to accomplish this, Visual Design, Experience Modeling, Scripting and persuasive writing. I am still long ways off.
The conviction that people can resolve conflicts, or build better models of living, if the education they are imparted with, assimilates in them more efficiently, drives me to work for creation of such a system. Hence, my recent interest in building interactive models.
Why are you participating in this Challenge? (750 characters)
I am participating here, as a challenge to me. To be able to make an effective system of illustrations and interaction, that can effortlessly create an persistent understanding of the topic.
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 visual creator by hobby.
How did you hear about this OpenIDEO Challenge?
Hewlett Foundation website / social media
Location: State / District
What opportunity areas are you covering with this final portfolio? (250 characters)
Chapter 0 and 1 - Data Privacy
Chapter 2 - Surveillance, Data Privacy
Chapter 3 - Machine Learning Model Security, Trustworthiness
Chapter 4 - Disinformation, Trustworthiness
Final Portfolio (1,500 characters)
The World Wide Web is a dynamic medium. I have tried to respect the same here, by making all of my visuals interactive. The five ideas that I have tried to visualize are in increasing order of complexity, meaning C0 is easier to understand and discuss and C4 is the most complex requiring technical and social expertise, increasing in difficulty to comprehend in an progressive manner.
Chapter 0 - Into the Rabbit Hole. Here starts the rabbit hole to a crazy abstractland.
Let us explore the different ways Cybersecurity affects us on a day-to-day basis.
Chapter 1 - Scope of our Troubles. We as humans have embraced our online identities.
But what exactly are the things that compose our online identities? How much do we share with others? And how much can some proficient person look into us?
Here's an interaction delving into that issue.
Chapter 2 - Trackers compile, we comply. Everyone using the internet may have came across the notification that asks for us to accept 'cookies', but how expansive is their reach?
Do they see everything that we see? What information do they collect and what do they do with it ?
Chapter 3 - the Wheel of Fortune. How much are we aware of the Machine Learning algorithms that are increasingly taking care of all our decisions?
Here I have tried to illustrate the 4 basic ways, Models can be exploited.
More info on Model Cybersecurity: https://www.oreilly.com/ideas/you-created-a-machine-learning-application-now-make-sure-its-secure
Chapter 4 - Ephemerality of our Existence
Here, I have tried to demonstrate an expansive view of the way our interests can be manipulated by certain threat actors. Chapter 3 showed us how Inversion attack collects useful data from machine learning models, and here that data is put to use to by micro-targeting the persuadable people to adopt an fringe ideology. Just one use case out of the many possibilities.
(Couldn't implement this in code)
Target Audience: Anyone wishing to dabble in the intricacies of Cybersecurity.
C0: This has everything that everyone knows and should know. An open secret, that we come across frequently. The portrait represents us, which subsequently opens up revealing deeper layers, that have been locked away. An exercise in iterative storytelling.
C1: Building up on my earlier submission, there are more layers now. More depth to the information that makes up our digital identity. Some surface level secrets and some deeper secrets. We, as humans are an incomplete puzzle trying to solve ourselves our entire lives.
C2: Building up on C1, here the data is collected and sent for compilation to create psuedo-personalities. An incomplete low-definition meaning of our glorious full lives.
C3: We have increasingly began depending on black-box machine learning models for our every problem. But how unbiased are there results? Can they be influenced? I have tried to illustrate that here.
C4: Is disinformation a cybersecurity threat? If yes, how does it impact us in our daily average lives
How would you summarize your final portfolio in 100 words or less? (650 characters)
The Web is an evolving and ever-growing medium that connects everyone one of us. I have made a minuscule attempt to capture this 'dynamic' nature. The portfolio represents visualization of five concepts, arranged in increasing order of difficult to visualize. We start with the things, everyone is familiar with and discuss on a regular basis, and go on to unravel the intricacies of the system that is increasingly influencing the foundation of our society. Data valuation, data collection and creation of personality models and its respective use in disinformation campaigns are some of the things I have attempted to explain in the portfolio.
Briefly describe your imagined use case for the work in your portfolio. (250 characters)
These interactive visualization offer hands-on-learning, hence it could be useful in roping in passive learners and eventually enabling them to take an active interest.
Examples: Cybersecurity Courses, Policy Campaigning, Explainer Editorials
What was the most useful feedback that you received? (1,000 characters)
The idea for Chapter 3 directly came out of the video conference I had with Steven Weber, my assigned mentor, where we discussed the reality of machine learning models and how could be they be represented.
The idea for Chapter 4 came out of my discussion with a certain individual about network topology visualization and Yishi Deng's entry on Divided truth.
Robyn Hwang's, (a participant) suggestion on Chapter 1 on segregating information into layers and revealing them progressively helped me add more depth.
The questions that are part of Chapter 0 are a direct result of Jen Zariat's entry on What is end-to-end encryption.
How have your concepts evolved since the Ideas Phase? (1,000 characters)
My initial submissions were prototypes made with casual curiosity with limited exposure to the topic. My concepts being turbid. Acceptance of my ideas gratified me, which propelled me to make my ideas coherent. I ordered my submissions into a sequence, in increasing order of their complexity to understand, just like lesson plans. I have tried making a funnel, pulling in people with casual interest in cybersecurity and introducing them to more complex representation of ideas.
Also, the level of abstractness increases a lot in the last two chapters, which I am pursuing to know people's susceptibility towards these representation of ideas. I also have added more jokes :p. Humor is more memorable when exploring new avenues of learning.
I have graphically overhauled my first 2 original submissions and have added more depth, made the first chapter more approachable and directed than others. The later chapters are logical speculations. So yes, my portfolio may be stronger now.
How have you been able to incorporate technical accuracy into your concepts? (1000 characters)
I started by consuming a lot of cybersecurity topics that interested me. (Even Google recommended some). I got a broad idea of what I wanted to represent, after seeing other participant's ideas, feedback and discussions. So I zeroed in onto specific cybersecurity queries to anchor my visuals.
In the Wheel of Fortune idea, I had realised the way I could visualize a machine learning algorithm, but how to show that it can be manipulated ? I searched and came upon an article explaining 4 basic ways of manipulating data. I tackled each one individually, and translated it to an intuitive interaction.
Poisoning became using a slider to upload data onto the model, inversion became an extract button and passing the info to Poisoning window.
Evasion meant changing a slight value to alter results and data impersonation became swapping portraits to mean two similar but very different personas.
How do your concepts expand the conversation on cybersecurity? (1000 characters)
Each visualization is designed to offer insights, which can evolve into a personal perspective by the added interaction of a person. I have tried to make the level of open ended dialog and discussion on each visual in an increasing order of ascension. The people in the illustration are abstract vectors, made of circles and rectangles and my attempt has been to make them gender-neutral.
I have drawn in wide varieties of analogies to anchor my ideas. A portrait sliding to reveal its inner contents that question us to unlock them, a metaphorical magnifying glass to gaze into information abyss that people are, a curious eye in our monitor and the wheel of fortune that decides our faith, are all perhaps timeless in nature. Cybersecurity is an evolving topic, but the fundamental kernel remains consistent, i.e. the people that make and manipulate them. I have tried to illustrate this side of the story.
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 attempt to make a generative system that delves into the various concepts that build cybersecurity today. I would aim to develop more in-depth explorable explanations, teaching people in a modular manner and allowing them to 'play' using those basic modules. Perhaps a more complex module could be created using these basic modules, assembled by the people themselves to produce new emergent ways of visualizing information.
As I had said earlier, to be able to make an effective system of illustrations and interaction, that can effortlessly create an persistent understanding of the topic. It would require more discussion and brainstorming with the problem shareholders. A more coordinated iterative approach to feedback and prototyping ideas.
What resources did you find most helpful? (optional, 1,000 characters)
Some articles that I found helpful were:
3. Adobe XD - Free tool to quickly prototype my ideas and test out the basic interactions. Also made all my illustrations in this tool.
4. P5js library for making the web interactions. Its simple approach to interactivity helped me experiment more with different ways of showing things.
Commitment to Creative Commons License (CC BY 4.0)
Yes, I ensure that my portfolio is in compliance with CC BY 4.0.