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Welcome to Cyburgh

Cyburgh is a place for creation through connection. With a little common sense, you'll do great here.

Photo of Paul McKay
4 2

Written by

Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)

As a netizen, its easy to watch the news & think you're vulnerable the second you go online. If multi-billion companies are hacked regularly, is there really anything you can do to stop these invisible forces? It can feel overwhelming, but the erosion of trust in the web is ironic when you consider the considerable access to opportunity it provides. Furthermore, we trust complete strangers everyday -- its the underlying concept that makes great, productive cities possible. That's why a city is the perfect analogy for the web; its a successful collaboration of a large number of individuals with a seemingly infinite number of goals, sharing spaces & resources so that the platform can serve as a boon for all pursuits. Welcome to Cyburgh, where the resources to build your vision are limitless. Though there are precautions you should take when exploring -- some folks & their whimisical net assistants play by a different set of rules -- this is ultimately a place for creativity, where you can build yourself into whoever you want to be.

Sketch 2 (1,500 characters)

Benefits of the concept: The loose rules allowed by the visual medium coupled with a (developing) offbeat art style will allow the scenarios that analogize to privacy concepts to grow as new concepts are explored (ex. maybe at a point invisible creatures are introduced that pickpocket data without a "traveler" knowing). || A physical, time-bound world with unlimited resources still has trade-offs (ex. you can build as big of a "house" or "network" as you want, but as you do, your attack surface grows). || Since cybersecurity concepts (ex. the "handshake" of encryption) are based on a series of sequential steps, the use of sequential art (i.e. comics) is ripe for exploration as it relates to topics in the field.

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

There's a lot to be optimistic about in the digital world. Though my day-to-day involves following the Wild West of nation-state cyber warfare, working through this process helped me see that the outlook of our more intimate digital communities isn't as bleak as the news makes it seem. Inevitably, there is always going to be a level of risk, but just like learning how to navigate the real world, human beings have a knack for adapting when they know its in the interest of their safety & well-being. Understanding best digital practices is a lot less intuitive than understanding their physical counterparts, but, with the right strategy of communication, I'm convinced it doesn't have to be that way.

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

I'm a marketing professional working for a cybersecurity client. Outside of making money to feed myself, I'm an amateur digital artist, graphic novel enthusiast, & sub-standard Mario Kart racer.

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

I'm participating in this challenge simply because I agree; we can do a better job visualizing cybersecurity. As a marketer in cybersecurity that spends a lot of time looking for creative resources, the frustration hits me frequently. There are many great publications & firms in the field that dedicate time & money to producing fun, innovative cybersecurity graphics, but there's a need for a source that makes concepts within the topic accessible in a cohesive and meaningful way (sans floaty green binary) and that isn't tied to a private, for-profit entity.

How did you hear about this OpenIDEO Challenge?

  • In the news

Location: City


Location: State / District


Location: Country

  • United States of America


Join the conversation:

Photo of Dima Boulad

Welcome to the challenge Paul McKay and thank you for your contribution! I especially appreciate the storytelling part of your submission. It makes your concept more relatable! How would you consider pushing this idea further? We've had a large number of very interesting submissions so far and we are going through them one by one in the Review phase. In the meantime, we invite you to browse other submissions and join the conversation around cybersecurity on the platform!

Photo of Paul McKay

Thanks for the kind words, Dima!

My goal for the concept is to illustrate the steps of different types of cyberattacks by abstracting the execution of one itself. By "execution," I mean malware that takes advantage of software vulnerabilities and/or abuse of legitimate permissions, which is more or less at the root of every cyber incident. Malware is quite an arcane subject and requires a sophisticated literacy of its own to understand (not to mention the vulnerabilities they take advantage of seem to grow in number every day.)

My inability to understand the endless variety and sophistication of malware and vulnerabilities stunted my own cyber hygiene for a good while. If I could have complex passwords and fancy firewalls and still be hacked by visiting the wrong website, why bother with any of it?

I don’t think I’m alone in having felt that way, nor do I think it’s necessarily wrong to — the concept of risk is real. But when I began to consider the resources and intention it would take to someone do all this, I came to understand it’s highly unlikely I would be the target of such a tactical intrusion. Day-to-day web use really is like a stroll through a city— unless you 1.) are going places known to be dangerous or 2.) have made a target by a hostile (and in the case of the web, highly capable) person(s), chances are you’ll get where you’re going as long as you walk with a little street smart.

So, by abstracting a vulnerability as a small, unknown flaw in a physical structure and a piece of malware as a lurking, villainous creature, I feel it’ll be easier to tell stories that focus on the concepts accessible for and relevant to the average web user — the “street smarts” part of navigating the web. The types of threats one would be likely to run into “on the street” depend largely on abuse during the transmission of information (ex. man-in-the-middle attacks, phishing attempts, or visiting a comprised website.) The defenses available against them (encryption, email filters, or simply an appropriate threshold of trust) are what I envision being the morals-of-the-stories for this series of comics.

Hope that shows you a little more clearly where I see this going as well as how many cyber topics are ripe to be explained through the comic as a medium. Happy to chat more if you have further questions!

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