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Stay skeptical, stay safe.

Use physical risk scenarios as analogies for cyber risk

Photo of Ash Gardiner
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Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)

Development process - These were designed by imagining the visual as a poster on a Tube/Metro/Office wall or as a stand-alone tweet from a persona such as CSO. This is an era of short attention spans or more accurately manifold things that demand our attention, As such, anything that takes more than a few seconds to comprehend is not going to be absorbed, no matter how clever. Taking this reality into consideration, the central aim of this submission is to convey an important message (tell a story) that is quickly and easily understood by broad range of stakeholders (accessible), is easy to remember and suggests a behaviour change that can be readily adopted (actionable). After seeing this image, try to look at a hand dryer without thinking about the perils of free WiFi. Does it need to be re-painted by Caravaggio to make this point? Simplicity is an important design principle which exists in other messaging scenarios and should apply here.

Sketch 2 (1,500 characters)

Instead of using a photo, this time a simple sketch of an everyday dangerous object. It is easy to imagine a series of photo and drawing based images that build on this theme such as a bowl of mints or bar snacks or sharing a hand towel at a house party. A clear call to action could be added at the bottom of each rendering. In defense of simple - The Slip, Slop, Slap campaign for sun protection features a basic rendering of a cartoon bird to deliver a life saving message. Would it be more or less impactful as a cubist rendering? Tim Urban tells fantastic stories with the most basic of drawings. Would these benefit from photo realism? Christoph Neumann has a collection of outstanding, generally simple works that are easily interpreted. The simplicity of this sketch follows the same logic. Substance over style.

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

That concept is more important than fidelity in early iterations. You can create a great movie from a great plot but you can't retrofit a plot to a visually spectacular movie and make it great.

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

I am a Nigerian Prince with millions trapped in a Lagos bank. Send me your account details and we can split the proceeds. Oh the irony! This is a Cyber Security challenge. It is counter intuitive to be requesting any more personal information than absolutely necessary. The more information about themselves that people share online, the more risk. That was one of the messages in another submission I made and took down in order to conform to the single application rule of the competition. For that reason I choose not to share more information as I don't believe you "Need to know".

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

I'm participating because as a cyber security professional I recognise that current visuals are unrelatable, not accessible to people outside of the profession. I think this is a great and much needed challenge. I do however worry that messages will become lost in the quest for artistic awesomeness.

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?

  • OpenIDEO email / social media

Location: City

You don't need to know

Location: State / District

You dont need to know

Location: Country

  • Australia


Join the conversation:

Photo of DeletedUser


I think the first image makes the intended point quite impactfully, even if it is somewhat distasteful to think about touching a dirty rotating hand towel, which in my part of the world (Arizona near the border with Mexico) is not so uncommon. As for one's personal details, I may be fatalistic but I think what will appear on most submissions could be gleaned rather easily from other Internet sources anyway, so I am not so concerned about sharing the requested details, but repetitive iteration is perhaps a factor in data compromise.

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

Best of luck.

John Messing

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