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Control your personal data stream (cybersecurity awareness)

Protect yourself, rise walls, close doors and keep control over your personal data stream. Always keep cybersecurity in mind.

Photo of Elio Reichert
11 10

Written by

Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)

As a dam takes control of a river it is a good metaphor for taking control of your personal data stream. Dams stop rivers from flooding valleys with dangerous amounts of water. They only let through as much as is useful for the associated human-built ecosystem. The same applies to the digital dam in this illustration. It ensures that your device will not be flooded with malware, spyware and other malicious codes from connected networks and let only the requested harmless code get to your device. The idea is to create an visually appealing illustration that is not directly related to cybersecurity at the first sight but in fact has a cybersecurity background. People should identify with this illustration and in best case use it as background image to always keep in mind ‘be like this dam, do not just let everything go through. Make yourself save from massive amounts of malicious code in the world wide web. Do not simply just download or accept anything and make sure you let only get to your device what is really useful.' The image is square, making it the best wallpaper for mobile devices as well as desktops.

Sketch 2 (1,500 characters)

This visual design concept works as an awareness game for cybersecurity. The goal is to build a strong computer system to mine money to build an even more strong computer system to mine even more money. But the stronger the computer becomes, the more attacks will occur. Therefore, players must invest money in security components such as upgrading the antivirus system or setting up firewalls (as seen in games like The Settlers or Clash of Clans where players build up a middle age village and make it safe from invaders). With the antivirus system players can send out security guards that fight invaders or find hidden viruses. With the max level antivirus system you can eliminate them with a laser. During the game the player resives emails into the ingame inbox. For example, a message telling you can get a free system boost making you mine twice as fast for the next hour. In this situation, the player has to decide whether it is a real email or a phishing mail. Players can detect fake mails in several ways. For example a generated sender adress ''. If the player accepts a fake boost, viruses invade the system, forcing the player to send out security guards to fight them. The game is over when invaders destroy the processoring unit or all mining hardware if no money is left to buy new ones. The value of this game is not to explain cybersecurity in a technical correct way, it's turning players into cybersecurity fans to make them more aware in their daily life.

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

I've trained myself in finding creative and abstract metaphors for technical concepts.

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

When i finished my apprenticeship in graphic design 2015, I started studying media publishing and design in digital media, which is a combination of design, informatics and marketing/economics. I will hold my bachelor degree in less than 2 Months. Since 3 years I'm also part of the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technologie ( as a working design student.

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

Since visualizing cybersecurity topics is my daily business at the Fraunhofer Institute for secure Information Technologie (SIT) I know very well about the struggle of all this generic symbols like shields, locks and binary code. We designers at Fraunhofer SIT always work on finding new individual and specific visualizations for our cybersecurity projects. I share the idea of how important it is to spread awareness for cybersecurity and really like how this award focuses on the designers role in this process.


Website: Under construction so please just ignore the blog section and incomplete parts. Also currently only in german but the 'Portfolio' sections gives some good insight into my work. | Linkedin (english):

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 affiliated with an organization.

How did you hear about this OpenIDEO Challenge?

  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)

Location: City


Location: State / District


Location: Country

  • Germany

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

Trustworthiness – (Phishing) | Hackers and Hacking – (Unsafe Password Managers) |Digital Privacy + Encription – (Unsafe Password Managers) | Wildcard – (Cybersecurity Awareness: Game) | Wildcard – (Hardware/Software Security: Digital Dam)

Final Portfolio (1,500 characters)

For general informations about the dam and the awareness game look at the sketch 1 and sketch 2 section. New on the dam: Now filtering not only in a quantitatively way anymore but also in a qualitatively way, so now the dam is really taking control of a users data stream. New on the awareness game: Attackers are now red for better recognition. Also I took a photograph and made a digital composition of a girl playing the game to keep humans in focus as the user is often called the most important part in cybersecurity. One composition looks like a regular photograph to set the focus on the game. The other one makes use of graphical elements to show the gamers focus and concentrations and visualize the learning effect. An other composition was made to visualize the danger of phishing since is one of the most common cyberattacks. A fisherman is coming out of the mail program to phish some login informations, but as you can see in the reflection of the glasses the girl can't see the fisherman, she gets tricked because she only sees a regular trustworthy looking email.

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

The final portfolio visualizes the danger of phishing and shows a cybersecurity awareness game in action. It clears up that not every password manager is safe and should be blindly trusted. Also the illustration of a dam gives a feeling what it is about to take control of your personal data stream to make your own cyber world a safe environment.

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

Digital Dam: Corporate security training | Password Manager: Made for for a related study (they agreed to use here and license under CC by 4.0) | Game: Awareness for people in general, companies & schools | Phishing: Journalistic article

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

It helped me a lot that I've been told the the dam in my first submission is only filtering in a quantitatively but not in a qualitatively way. So I worked on that. I also figured out that people don't recognize the attackers in the awareness game because they are green which is actually a color to visualize "the good guys" so I changed their color to red wich helped a lot.

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

The portfolio now is much stronger. It is not only more visually appealing, also the metaphors and symbolics work better. Also with the new photos I set a whole new focus on the human as the most important part in cybersecurity. For the game I changed the attackers color to red to make 'em more recognizable. The dam is now not only filtering also in quantitatively way anymore but also in a qualitatively way, wich makes it a lot more technical accurate.

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

I've got lots of good advise from my mentor and the other shortlisters in the video call. Also as I'm working at a cybersecurity research institute (as designer) I had lots of nice and helpful conversations with coworkers.

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

For me, the most important thing within designing for cybersecurity is to raise a general awareness of cybersecurity. So if I had the time an knowhow I'd love to see my game on mobile App Stores.

Commitment to Creative Commons License (CC BY 4.0)

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


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 Elio Reichert .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 Mai Arollado

Hi Elio,

Great drawing, visually balance and sound. i also like your technique. i also love the details you've add to create a "circuit" kind of way.

Good luck! and looking forward to see your final drawing!

Best regards,Mai

Photo of Rebecca Wang

I think the first sketch has definite visual appeal, however I find that perhaps a filter analogy would be more fitting for reminder the viewer to not let every piece of information through? Oftentimes, as indicated in the second idea, people aren't aware of how to filter out information and may let a malicious piece of software in without realizing the actual nature of the contents. The game seems really promising as well, I think it would be a fun way for people to learn about cybersecurity in an interactive way. I look forward to seeing the developed ideas!

Photo of Dima Boulad

Welcome Elio Reichert  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!

Photo of Elio Reichert

Hello Dima Boulad thank you! I think together with a mentor I will work on pushing my ideas more to a spezific cybersecurity issue and make them technically correct. Also I think creating a design language that fits for the target group will be a thing for me in round two.
I‘ve seen all of the other submission and I‘m really impressed by all the creative ideas and quality in design. I‘ll watch out for the conversation that‘s going on.

Photo of c null

I like the first one.
Maybe you can include on the wall a hash, a password, a cert or a digital finger to reforce the idea

Photo of Elio Reichert

Good ideas to make the visualization more clear. Thank you!

Photo of DeletedUser


The idea of using gaming to model cyber security concepts is bold and imaginative in my experience. Sketch 1 is very interesting as a graphic, although the analogy between a dammed river and information flow is difficult for me to grasp. It brings forth a logjam, not information theft, which you might want to consider if you go on to round 2.

As a fellow entrant, I invite you to visit my submission and let me know how you think it could be improved..

Best of luck.

John Messing

Photo of Elio Reichert

Hi John, thank you for the feedback and interest in my designs. The idea with the dam is to visualize a possible solution for cybersecurity issues in an abstract metaphoric way but not to visualize an issue, like for example information theft, itself. The illustration should be seen as a ‘secure place‘ so that viewers feel comfortable and empathize with the idea of security in the cyber world to make them more aware.

Photo of Tristan Spill

This tower defence game with some technical detailing would be a useful teaching tool into specific hacking and counter methods such as DDoS. I could see it being licensed and used to promote services. Nice one.

Photo of Aswin BeHera

The idea of a game mildly simulating network penetration is a great idea. The entertaining format is sure to make lasting impressions on the users. I would definitely play it!
One addition would be to perhaps make the system of receiving upgrades and distinguishing whether they are real or not like the Tinder matching system. People are already familiar with this design pattern. Though adding more features may raise the learning curve.