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So Long And Thanks For All The Phishing

The false sense of security in the argument that one would never be a target is just the result of a lack of security awareness education.

Photo of Abraham Pena
20 18

Written by

Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)

I based this concept on the fourth user persona of the challenge: Kristen - The High Profile Journalist. In style, I was inspired by the drawing style of the New Yorker covers, as this is a major publication aimed at a public looking for information and quality reports. Given the wide demographic range, they should be friendly to an audience of both sexes, of a wide age range and not necessarily illustrated in deep concepts of technology or engineering. Therefore the use of bright colors, warm, in a more casual tone and even slightly irreverent. This example relies on semiotics to represent the user as a relaxed person, probably on vacation and working remotely, enjoying the surface without any apparent alarm, a product of his ignorance of concepts of logical or physical security awareness. However, several dangerous sharks swim underneath, conceptualizing cybersecurity elements such as the attacker, the tool, in this case the use of phishing, and the environment, symbolizing the sea to the digital environment. The power of the message resonates with the reader, conveying alerts about the lack of security awareness education. The only way to move confidently through the digital environment and trust our devices is to take the necessary precautions to avoid incidents, because you will always be exposed to them through encounters with malicious people. This is achieved through training and education on best practices in digital interaction, and physical and log

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

The ease with which references can be made to such abstract concepts as cybersecurity by representing it through scenes of everyday life where your physical or emotional security could be threatened.

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

I am a web designer and brand strategist with more than 8 years of experience in the sector. I am dedicated to creating conceptual worlds for my clients through the use of metaphors and visual allegories, thus creating strong, recognizable brands that connect with their audience.

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

To help lay new foundations of visual representation of asbestos concepts such as the digital world, making it simple and easy to consume for users.

Website(s)

I helped with the design and ideation of the cybersecurity visuals at www.essendis.com

What is your experience with the field of cybersecurity?

  • I have considerable 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?

  • In the news

Location: City

Doral

Location: State / District

Florida

Location: Country

  • United States of America

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

Hackers and Hacking, and a wildcard* Security awareness: How to apply logical security in your personal and work environment.

Final Portfolio (1,500 characters)

Exploring and sketching beyond what was the original concept, I realized that the basis of my concept was security awareness, a kind of digital street smarts: a series of skills, customs and habits that minimize the chances of being a victim by keeping a low profile, reinforcing protective measures and correcting loose ends. Further philosophizing, aided by mentor and the community of the challenge, I fell into the certainty that attack vectors and their defenses are widely represented in the animal and plant world in the natural evolution of their behaviors and instincts of attack and defense. This could be conveyed to the audience as a message of possible evolution (of behavior) that would increase the chances of coping and avoiding digital attacks. For this series of illustrations, l first looked for concepts of cybersecurity awareness that were relatively simple to visually convey by simulating an animal's behavior of security awareness and defense against attacks.

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

Studying the concepts of hacking and the reasons behind it. I realized that there are obvious similarities in the behaviors, abilities and characteristics of the predators and prey of the animal kingdom, with respect to their human counterparts, hackers and victims. However, as in nature, we can evolve the handling of tools and the adoption of tools and behaviors to present better defenses against possible digital attacks.

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

A high profile journalist is writing a series about security awareness. For each case her illustrator artist made a cover illustration for both print and web, using as reference animal scenes analogous to the technical features of the attack.

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

It was at the mentorship call, where the mentor introduced me to the concept of attack vectors. About how hackers don't target specific targets, but try to attack or access a broad base of people, waiting for some to fall. This helped me adjust the technical aspect of my illustrations and even inspired the natural approach to which the illustrations were derived.

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

At the beginning of the challenge, my concept was the lack of Security awareness as a problem when it comes to navigating the digital world. After an arduous work of refinement together with my mentor and the community, my concept evolved towards basic concepts of Security awareness seen from a natural analog approach, where predator and prey have evolved to develop or defend themselves from attack vectors. The idea is to empower the audience by exposing them to useful and concrete security concepts, while showing them ways to minimize the risks of exposing themselves to a security breach.

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

By including concepts such as multiple attackers, multiple vectors and multiple targets, it was easy to relate this to herds and groups interacting with each other through vectors of attack and defense.

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

By showing empowered users through a cross-cultural reference, we can begin to educate audiences on the practice of cybersecurity as something positive and normal in a society. Like customs or memes that can be transmitted from generation to generation as part of the cultural baggage. There are also issues about how the digital environment is a living environment, and just as the arms race of the natural world has evolved its attack vectors and defenses, it is natural in the digital world that methods of attack and defense evolve organically, analogous to the natural evolution of species.

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 like to create a series of signage symbols representing the cybersecurity issues and safety measures through print or digital media, embedding them into the collective imaginary, transcending us as individuals and society in time. (e.g. icons of nuclear or biological risk).

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

The call with the cybersecurity mentor, the link to O'Reilly's animal covers and definitely the declassified NSA Cold War information security posters.

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)

20 comments

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Photo of Sean Li

Hi Abraham,
I really like how your designs expressed the ideas of cybersecurity, showing how people are often unaware of the dangers that lie in the online space. The images create a nice contrast between the blissful ignorance of users and the possible threats that are close to them. A possible improvement could include small descriptions in the image to better contextualize their symbolism to users.

Photo of Joanne Wang

Hi Abraham,

I really enjoyed viewing your portfolio! It conveyed the key messages of cybersecurity in an engaging and intuitive way. The image with people floating on water and sharks swimming below nicely delineates the potential danger that lies below the surface. I also love how your images relate our awareness on the cyber space to natural instincts in the animal kingdom - the analogy highlights how we should protect ourselves from cyber attacks just like how animals try to guard themselves from predators. I think one possible suggestion would be to include some of the written explanation in the images themselves, so that when the audience views the images they can immediately understand the message regarding cybersecurity instead of reading the description below. Great work!

Photo of Ray Lagesse

Congratulations on your selection!

Very cool ideas and executions, It communicates the message efficiently and neatly.

Photo of c null

Nice!!!
Maybe you can include some data folling from your computer, like blood!
Good work

Photo of Abraham Pena

Hey c null! thank you!

Photo of Azahara Casanova

Buen concepto, limpio y claro. La referencia a Douglas Adams, todo un clásico. Inquietante nadar en colchoneta rodeado de tiburones y con los pies a remojo. ¡Felicidades!

Photo of Abraham Pena

¡Gracias! ¡Si, la referencia a Adams estaba facilita! jajaja. Y concurro contigo, yo no quisiera ser tampoco el personaje en la colchoneta. ¡Que miedo!

Photo of Natália Puga

Hi Abraham
I loved your idea - when I first looked at your illustration the first thing that came to my mind was New Yorker covers. I think it's an elegant concept, easy to understand and a perfect fit for your chosen persona, Kristin. I would love to see more visuals for the other personas and other examples like this one, of people in a relaxed environment/everyday situation and how they connect with cybersecurity.

Photo of Abraham Pena

Hi Natalia! Thanks! In the end, I went through another direction, taking as the main theme the concept of security awareness. Please take a look. I would love to know your opinion about these!

Photo of Melissa Walko

I really like your concept and style! The one thing I'm struggling with is that I'm not sure I'd feel safe "on the surface" if I saw that many fins while I was on an inflatable raft. What if there was dolphins on the surface and sharks below?

Photo of Abraham Pena

Hi Melissa! Thank you for your compliment! The idea was to show to the viewer the concept of tangible danger under the surface. Maybe the person in the inflatable raft can't see the sharks because is too invested in what is happening inside the screen!

Photo of Mai Arollado

Hi Abraham,

great job! visual balance, color harmony and metaphor to the theme is spot on! looking forward to see the final artwork!

Best regards,Mai

Photo of Abraham Pena

Hi Mai! Thank you for your kind words! It was not easy to balance all the elements, but I think the final result was worth it. What do you think about the final artwork?

Photo of Ivana i.troselj@student.adfa.edu.au

Abraham Pena  - I really like the combination of elements here, the sharks, the relaxed holiday-goer, the laptop, and the surface - your attack surface? The combined effect of the visual elements here is SO strong, and the text - broken up for dramatic effect - is just wonderful icing on the cake.

Photo of Abraham Pena

Thanks Ivana! That was the idea. Playing and designing around semiotics and our basic instincts as human beings to generate more than communication - a feeling around the topic.

Photo of Conor Caplice

Your title alone gets my vote (if I had a vote) and I love the style of your art!

Photo of Abraham Pena

Hahahaha! Thank you! Let's say the title was a low hanging fruit ;).

Photo of Dima Boulad

I'm so glad to see the progress of this idea and the sketches into your final portfolio Abraham Pena  .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 Abraham Pena

Hi Dima Boulad ! Thank you! Its been a pleasure to participate in this challenge. I will certainly keep drawing and designing about cybersecurity topics. Good luck with future challenges and keep up the good work!

Photo of Dima Boulad

Welcome to the challenge Abraham Pena and thank you for your contribution! Thank you for including the earlier sketch of your work in your submission, it's really interesting to see where your final product is coming from! How would you consider pushing this idea further? We've had a large number of very interesting submissions so far and we are going through them one by one in the Review phase. In the meantime, we invite you to browse other submissions and join the conversation around cybersecurity on the platform!