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The chilling effects of cyber conflict

It's difficult to grasp the breadth of damage a cyber conflict may inflict, and we're showcasing how these acts impact everyday activities.

Photo of Sweet Tea Communications, LLC
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Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)

These images represent the possible reality of a long term power outage caused by a power grid attack. Hospitals and some businesses may be able to operate on generators for a short time, but what about the lives of people not in those buildings? We wanted to portray the horror felt when a call to 911 failed because of a lack of power due to a cyber attack. How would school children get help in an accident and the traffic lights are out? How would you defend your home if the security system stopped working? How could you get access to your money if the ATMs couldn't process transactions due to a lack of power? These are real scenarios and it's important they be understood.

Sketch 2 (1,500 characters)

The satellites surrounding Earth are just as susceptible to cyber attacks as our power grid and personal computers. If a country's satellite were attacked another group could gain access to powerful military and secret information that protects lives and increases a country's security. Countries and their citizens shouldn't be left in the dark regarding the reality of these types of attacks and the damage they can inflict.

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

This was an interesting project because it forced my partner and I to think about how we'd react in the event of a cyber attack either locally, nationally or globally. We began thinking about the importance of preparation in terms of ourselves and family, but also wondered how prepared our city, state and national governments were in the event of a full-scale cyber attack on our space/satellite/military programs and how that could impact everyday activities.

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

We are a team of two graphic designers who combined have more than 30 years experience working with government and nonprofit clients, among others. Our specialties include graphic design, marketing strategy, public relations and web design. We live in Madison, Alabama, which is neighbors with the Rocket City, Huntsville.

Why are you participating in this Challenge? (750 characters)

Although we've worked with defense contractors and other government clients, we've never worked on anything cyber specific. This is a growing field with lots of opportunities and we want to learn more about how cyber security and conflicts can be detected and addressed, and how to send the right messages to key target stakeholders about what to do.


What is your experience with the field of cybersecurity?

  • I have never worked in cybersecurity before but am excited to learn more and get involved.

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

United States of America

Location: State / District

Madison, AL

Location: Country

  • United States of America
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Attachments (2)


Many homes are automated or have security systems, but what happens with the power goes out for an extended period? The back up batteries are dead and there's no sign when the lights will return, do you still feel safe? This portrays the insecurity one may feel if the power grid were hacked and power was out for an extended period of time.


When there's a sudden power failure, such as if the power grid were hacked and taken down, traffic lights may not work as intended and accidents could happen. At the same time the cell phone towers are inoperable making calling emergency personnel for assistance nearly impossible to reach those who need help. Imagine school kids riding home only be in an accident and 911 couldn't be reached because the cell phone towers were out.

This inspired (1)

Virtually as one

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Dima Boulad

Hello Sweet Tea Communications, LLC ! Happy to see your contribution to the Cybersecurity challenge. How would you consider pushing this idea further? We've had a large number of very interesting creations, have you had a chance to browse other submissions? There's a very interesting conversation around cybersecurity going on!