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A Workaround Hack

An illustration of imagined hacker reaching through a laptop screen to grab credit card details and credentials

Photo of Tristan Spill
6 1

Written by

Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)

Used pinterest to gather up visual intel on the project : Then went to focus on the idea of what the hacker does ... in an easy to understand and hopefully emotional way. Having had my stuff hacked last year, it felt like a hidden robbery ... so I wanted to show a way of bringing this to life.

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

I learned that making something abstract into something easy to understand is not as easy as I had anticipated. There's a number of ways of showing "a hacker" and I prefer those that are abstracted so as to not fall down a "representation hole." I also didn't really have a final destination for my illustration. I figure it might be animated or colourful?

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

I worked on icons & branding for a leading mac anti-virus vendor about 20 years ago. Since then I've built websites and videos. I like to draw and have been looking after my kid this summer so have not had much chance to do anything creative. I only had a short period of time to get something together today. Hope you like it. I also made a Pinboard for this project: ... I was born in New Zealand, went to school in New York and now live in London, UK.

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

I saw this challenge listed on Cory Doctorow's post on ( I've made commercial film posters and done quick illustrations for tech companies, I've also built and designed websites. So this feels like something that ties into my diverse interests ... including showing core story concepts (Movie Posters), illustrating dystopias (Orwell's 1984), concise drawings (Sketch notes) and creating something visually sharable & emotive (emoji). I'm also interested in exploring this cultural blindspot that's grown up and surged in my lifetime from WarGames (1983) to Cambridge Analytica (2017). I'm sick of seeing the same visual cliches used everywhere. It keeps it hidden & dangerous.


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 freelancer.

How did you hear about this OpenIDEO Challenge?

  • Other

Location: City

London, Borough of Hackney

Location: Country

  • United Kingdom


Join the conversation:

Photo of Viviane

If it’s an animation with a reveal, part of that element of reveal could be that it changes to the first-person point of view, so the viewer realises it's his/her computer that’s being hacked.
Nice Pinterest collection.

Photo of Dima Boulad

I like your suggestion Viviane !!

Photo of William Pugsley

Very jealous of your drawing skills Tristan Spill ! I see you were inspired by the Trojan Horse, I tried not to look at any other contributions, before completing mine for better or worse xd
The Trojan Horse is one of my favourites here, but it does look like a complete work already. It could easily be published, I like that in your drawing you went with the contest premise of doing a quick sketch. The goofy hacker is my favourite, and the cat is on the second place. Very good idea and well-executed. What I really like about it is that whoever will be looking at this image will understand what this is about in an instant, no additional explanation necessary. On top of that, it's cute. The brief was asking for something that isn't fear-inducing, so this is on-brief.

Photo of Dima Boulad

Welcome to the challenge Tristan Spill  and thank you for your contribution! We've had a large number of very interesting submissions so far and we will be going through them one by one in the Review phase. In the meantime, we invite you to browse the other submissions and join the conversation around cybersecurity on the platform!

Photo of Aswin BeHera

Saw all the pins you had saved on Pinterest. Found inspiration from the Privacy+Encryption section and really liked those graphic styles ��

Photo of Tristan Spill

Thanks Aswin BeHera !