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Phoney War

A poster that brings together the cyber and the kinetic aspects of war.

Photo of Ben Banks
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Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)

A composite image. The idea was to have the green plastic soldier emerging from a phone. It was inspired by the difficulties of transition from cyberwar to kinetic war and the efforts of building a Geneva convention for cyber conflicts. The lettering and font are meant to be reminiscent of old war posters. It is a mix of photographs, 3D AR models and some digital editing and layout. It was important for the soldier to seem to be coming from the murky pool of the digital realm. Phoney War is, of course, a play on words.

Sketch 2 (1,500 characters)

Consolidated some ideas as these fit the narrative.

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

There are some awesome ideas generated by this process. A lesson in knowing I have a beginners skill. And hoping that that means a beginners mind, but not so sure.

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

Cybersecurity is my job and it’s a passion. I massively enjoying playing with visualisation. Seemed a perfect match. The results will be show how successful.

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 visual creator by hobby.

How did you hear about this OpenIDEO Challenge?

  • Other

Location: City

Cardiff

Location: State / District

Wales

Location: Country

  • United Kingdom

8 comments

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Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

I think this is a brilliant idea. In terms of execution, I have a nit-pick. The soldier looks plastic. Is there a reason for that? If not, I find it distracting. Perhaps more realistic tones would work as as well, if you go on to the second round.

As a fellow entrant, I invite you to visit my submission and let me know how you think it could be improved.. https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/cybersecurity-visuals/review/what-is-appropriate-encryption

Best of luck.

John Messing

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Photo of Ben Banks

John. Thanks for the comment. I was thinking of plastic soldiers. Sort of playing with the notion of everything being a game until it isn’t. And the removal of actual consequences from ‘digital’ engagement. I quite liked the jarring nature of the colours (an idea I ripped from other graphic design classics), but may have gone a little OTT. But that said everything is possible and I’m amenable to changing anything in to improve it. So if (in the unlikely event that i make the cut ahead of the other brilliant work here) I will use your comments to inspire a few tricks to try and extend this idea.

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Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

Ben: I think coming out of a phone, a phone-like graphic could work too and keep more closely with the phone metaphor. In my easy to conjure imagination that requires no sweat, and therefore may likely be gratuitous, I see a slick graphic on a flat surface that is suspended above the phone’s screen, parallel to it, that contains a similar image of a soldier firing a weapon. But enough backseat driving. I like what you have done. And I don’t think anyone should count themselves out for the next round. Where is the fun in that?

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Photo of Ben Banks

Being British, counting oneself out is the fun ;-). I like the thinking. In my mind’s eye I see a slight variation on that working well. I want to play with the perspective so perhaps having the solider as a flat translucent graphic rising from the surface of the phone. Or perhaps being cast as persistence of perception led style image being radiated from a point on the phone. Assuming I have the skills to pull either of those two off convincingly.

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Photo of Jason Kravitz

This is a great metaphor and a creative idea. One other depiction is maybe instead of a soldier aiming in position, to show a saluting soldier standing at attention with a rifle, as if the operator is the commanding officer about to give an order.

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Photo of Ben Banks

That's an interesting idea. I slightly worry is that that is making a clear 'user-empowerment' statement. I was hoping for something a little more ambiguous. The prone soldier is just there. Not necessarilly under the users control. But fighting none the less. And it does let me play with the "O" of phoney as a target and maintain a visual consistency. One option (which I might have a crack at) is to make the "O" of phoney the end of the gun barrel somehow with the sniper, close up, and looking at the viewer. It's a little agressive, but might work if I can get the scaling right. Although the message of pay attention before it's too late is an interesting one.

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Photo of Jason Kravitz

I didn't catch the clever O target at first but now I see it. I guess my main connection was with the text "What can I help you with" or "How can I be of service" (going more on the military theme). Thinking of the phone like the "new soldier", at the operators command for potentially destructive use.

Coming from a slightly different direction, when considering "Cyberwar" at its core, it is often more about disruption than soldiers and guns. In a way, a well placed attack has the potential bypass traditional military conflict to cause massive damage without firing a shot.

Look at Stuxnet or BlackEnergy and how computer code can knock a whole nuclear program offline, cause a media outage, or take a city off the grid. These are the new battle fronts that must be considered and potentially regulated.

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Photo of Ben Banks

There are some very knotty problems with cyberwar. The one I was hoping to represent was the intersection of cyber and kinetic. For example, Stuxnet was very cleverly targetted and is debatably very close to a cyber weapon that meets a transposition of the Geneva convention from conventional weapons (minimises civillian impact). The NotPetya incident, if you follow it was a Russian sponsored shot at the Ukranians, did not meet that convention (just ask Maersk). I'm no expert in these matters, but it seems to me that we are on a precipice - disregarding the normative controls of 'Internation Order' and the 'rule of law' which could provide a framework for putting controls in this theatre. Hence the urgency and impact I wanted to get in the second image.