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The Digital Trojan Horse

A harmless click opens the door to more than you may bargain for.

Photo of Bryce Quig-Hartman
5 10

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Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)

Instead of an army of soldiers, today's digital trojan horses are filled with likes, comments and followers. An unsuspecting user may think a simple click is completely harmless, but savvy hackers, government entities and corporations know that this miniscule action is the easiest way to break into users’ security "fortresses" and discreetly bypass privacy measures. This concept artwork represents a tangible action (and reaction) within the Digital Privacy and Encryption opportunity – similar to picking a lock or ripping open a sealed envelope. When users make that risky click, especially on social media, they're trading privacy and security for attention, likes and engagement. It's a risk that everyone takes, often hundreds or thousands of times every day, with very little afterthought into what implications it may have. Privacy is intangible which makes it hard to visualize, but alluding to this classic Greek war tale brings notions of familiarity and understanding to a previously ill-defined and vague concept.

Sketch 2 (1,500 characters)

Tell us a little bit about this concept. Which opportunity area does this represent? What inspired you? If you were to continue building out this concept, what would your next steps be? This image direction / mood board represents similar artwork and concepts that were used as inspiration to create this submission. It also offers direction on how I would continue to build out this concept going forward. The flat style trojan horse is central to all images at it represents the “click” that carries privacy and security risks into a user’s device. The art style is lighthearted, colourful and can be used for multiple audience demographics and applications.

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

Through this process, I learned that making the invisible, visible is an extremely difficult task – but is desperately needed in the industry. Even the stereotypical trope of a trojan horse has limited modern visuals associated with the story, and this classic tale certainly hasn’t been made relevant for online audiences today. This exercise is extremely valuable and absolutely needed, and has made me think more carefully about the images I use within our cybersecurity environment today.

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

My name is Bryce Quig-Hartman. I'm a Campaign Designer for a Marketing Agency based in San Diego. I use my background in Music Production/Engineering to take a fresh approach and angle on the different areas of cyber security that our agency works with. By approaching a campaign in the same way I might compose a song, it allows me to break a campaign up into individual elements. The same way a song can be constructed from an intro, verse, chorus, bridge, etc... I believe a good marketing campaign is built the same way. I draw my inspiration from the amazing team that I work with. I'm lucky to work in an environment that actually encourages creativity and off-the-wall ideas. With a team you can depend on, when you jump off the creative deep end, you always feel like you have a life-line to grab if need be!

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

I originally heard about it through our Social Media manager and after reading through the brief I knew we had to get onboard. After a quick 30 minute brainstorm we were definitely down and now here we are!


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

  • United States of America

This inspired (1)

A Workaround Hack


Join the conversation:

Photo of Rebecca Wang

Social media and security is a really important topic to be addressing, especially considering how important these platforms are today. I think the trojan horse metaphor is a great visual storytelling device, I look forward to seeing more :)

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