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In the shadows

Showing that cyber war is more than just passwords leaks - it can wreak havoc on an entire nation.

Photo of Claudia Ully
4 7

Written by

Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)

When thinking of cyber war, most people imagine hackers stealing data. But nowadays everything from water or energy supply to traffic and health is based on technical systems. Targeting these systems can bring chaos and destruction, however, many people are not aware of this danger. So, while media shows country leaders shaking hands, secret wars are fought in the background targeting and defending critical infrastructures.

Sketch 2 (1,500 characters)

The second sketch puts more emphasize on the attackers perspective, showing that it is not only nations that attack each other but a single higly skilled person can cause huge damage. This sketch uses an image from the documentary "Blackout":

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

Our dependence on technology is increasing more and more, and yet most people are not prepared for a scenario where technology might fail us.

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

I used to work as a Technical Writer whose task it is to explain complex ideas as simply as possible. Then, out of interest, I got into Computer Science and currently I am perparing myself for a career in cyber security.

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

I like to create visualizations for complex ideas.


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?

  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)

Location: City


Location: Country

  • Germany


Join the conversation:

Photo of DeletedUser


I like the layout of Sketch 1 a great deal but it does not suggest cyber warfare to me. I would think it belongs more intuitively to IOT (Internet of Things), which similar to cyber warfare has impacts in the real world.

As a fellow entrant, I invite you to visit my submission and let me know what you think.

Best of luck.

John Messing

Photo of Phil O'Farrell

What I love about this: The handshake in the centre being subverted by all the back channels & hacks.

I'm not enamoured by: the 1s and 0s leading to the different connected elements. I'm not even sure they're necessary - the main play of this piece is definitely the central circle showing diplomacy vs espionage. There is probably a simpler, smaller way to show that the hands lead to nation states, with all the fragile infrastructure that involves.

Photo of Jason Kravitz

These are great concepts.

One idea I had while thinking in terms of cyberwar, was an incident from a few years ago. Someone hacked the power grid in a Ukrainian city in winter causing massive power outages and people without heat in extremely cold weather.

I wonder if you could make the 2nd sketch a series, or depict other locations where lack of power can literally be a life or death issue. Another location could be a hospital where someone could potentially cut power or cause other disruptions (like some ransomware incidents in last years) which impact medical care or assisted life care.

Photo of Daniel Marner

Regarding the "blackout" idea: How about "execute ... poweroff" ?
With only a single light of a plane in the sky, of(f) course.