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Know What Sensitive Data is and Protect It!

Many people do not view items such as Usernames, Passwords, SSN's, and Credit Card numbers as items that they need to protect.

Photo of Dennis Carson
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Written by

Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)

Many people are under the illusion that hackers performing sophisticated attacks are how most sensitive data is breached. The reality is, phishing attacks and malware attacks are how the majority is. Why would hackers need to do advanced attacks when they can just ask the victim to provide their credentials? And many victims are more than willing to comply with this request. Knowledge and awareness are the best tools to defend against these attacks. If the human mind were an operating system, it would be equivalent to Windows 3.1. Trusting of requests. Bombarded with information and struggling to sift through it all. Also, willing to help. Those great human qualities are often exploited in phishing and malware attacks...which can result in tremendous damages for individuals. My graphic creates awareness to these topics.

Sketch 2 (1,500 characters)

Most humans are trusting by nature. Also, our 'human mind os' has not evolved to handle the malicious nature of the Internet. Most people are wired to comply with requests. To further complicate things, many people do not realize that they should be protecting their username and password. These could be used to login to bank accounts and other high value targets. Several years ago, we used our SSN's for identification numbers. This is a bad practice now, but many people are comfortable emailing them and credit card information. These items must be protected! All it takes is one slip and you can become and identity theft victim which can take several years to remediate!

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

I feel like I'm good at breaking concepts down to simple to understand phrases, but the graphics can be hard to create that align with these. Also, even though I understand a concept like encryption very well, it's hard to come up with an innovative depiction that hasn't already been created. And most of those depictions aren't easy to understand.

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

I am Director of Networking, Security, and Data Center at a college. I have a Masters in Business Administration and another one in Cybersecurity. Hobbies include lifting weights and playing Ultimate Frisbee. My wife is a self-funded campus minister.

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

I really have a passion for IT Security and if I can create a graphic that helps people understand it and prevents them from being a victim...THAT'S EXCITING!


IG: Denny_4_2

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 cybersecurity professional with an interest in visuals.

How did you hear about this OpenIDEO Challenge?

  • Other

Location: City

Belle Vernon

Location: State / District


Location: Country

  • United States of America

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Dima Boulad

Welcome to the challenge Dennis Carson , Dima here, I am here to support you in the process.
I found it interesting how both you and Conor Caplice explored the analogy of Sex and Love to address protection. Check out the submission here:
Always Use Protection 
I like how you use a photographic lock to portray how sensitive our data is. How would you push your submission further to portray how easily "hackable" these locks are, and don't represent much placed on the "Love Bridge"?
Perhaps you can recreate an illustration of the scene with multiple locks, but all were opened instead?
For some composition tips, check out this link:
I can’t wait to see how this progresses next, and don't forget to check out Hewlett's tip of the week on the brief page!