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So Long And Thanks For All The Phishing

The false sense of security in the argument that one would never be a target is just the result of a lack of security awareness education.

Photo of Abraham Pena
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Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)

I based this concept on the fourth user persona of the challenge: Kristen - The High Profile Journalist. In style, I was inspired by the drawing style of the New Yorker covers, as this is a major publication aimed at a public looking for information and quality reports. Given the wide demographic range, they should be friendly to an audience of both sexes, of a wide age range and not necessarily illustrated in deep concepts of technology or engineering. Therefore the use of bright colors, warm, in a more casual tone and even slightly irreverent. This example relies on semiotics to represent the user as a relaxed person, probably on vacation and working remotely, enjoying the surface without any apparent alarm, a product of his ignorance of concepts of logical or physical security awareness. However, several dangerous sharks swim underneath, conceptualizing cybersecurity elements such as the attacker, the tool, in this case the use of phishing, and the environment, symbolizing the sea to the digital environment. The power of the message resonates with the reader, conveying alerts about the lack of security awareness education. The only way to move confidently through the digital environment and trust our devices is to take the necessary precautions to avoid incidents, because you will always be exposed to them through encounters with malicious people. This is achieved through training and education on best practices in digital interaction, and physical and log

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

The ease with which references can be made to such abstract concepts as cybersecurity by representing it through scenes of everyday life where your physical or emotional security could be threatened.

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

I am a web designer and brand strategist with more than 8 years of experience in the sector. I am dedicated to creating conceptual worlds for my clients through the use of metaphors and visual allegories, thus creating strong, recognizable brands that connect with their audience.

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

To help lay new foundations of visual representation of asbestos concepts such as the digital world, making it simple and easy to consume for users.


I helped with the design and ideation of the cybersecurity visuals at

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 professional visual creator freelancer.

How did you hear about this OpenIDEO Challenge?

  • In the news

Location: City


Location: State / District


Location: Country

  • United States of America

What opportunity areas are you covering with this final portfolio? (250 characters)

Hackers and Hacking, and a wildcard* Security awareness: How to apply logical security in your personal and work environment.

Final Portfolio (1,500 characters)

Exploring and sketching beyond what was the original concept, I realized that the basis of my concept was security awareness, a kind of digital street smarts: a series of skills, customs and habits that minimize the chances of being a victim by keeping a low profile, reinforcing protective measures and correcting loose ends. Further philosophizing, aided by mentor and the community of the challenge, I fell into the certainty that attack vectors and their defenses are widely represented in the animal and plant world in the natural evolution of their behaviors and instincts of attack and defense. This could be conveyed to the audience as a message of possible evolution (of behavior) that would increase the chances of coping and avoiding digital attacks. For this series of illustrations, l first looked for concepts of cybersecurity awareness that were relatively simple to visually convey by simulating an animal's behavior of security awareness and defense against attacks.

How would you summarize your final portfolio in 100 words or less? (650 characters)

Studying the concepts of hacking and the reasons behind it. I realized that there are obvious similarities in the behaviors, abilities and characteristics of the predators and prey of the animal kingdom, with respect to their human counterparts, hackers and victims. However, as in nature, we can evolve the handling of tools and the adoption of tools and behaviors to present better defenses against possible digital attacks.

Briefly describe your imagined use case for the work in your portfolio. (250 characters)

A high profile journalist is writing a series about security awareness. For each case her illustrator artist made a cover illustration for both print and web, using as reference animal scenes analogous to the technical features of the attack.

What was the most useful feedback that you received? (1,000 characters)

It was at the mentorship call, where the mentor introduced me to the concept of attack vectors. About how hackers don't target specific targets, but try to attack or access a broad base of people, waiting for some to fall. This helped me adjust the technical aspect of my illustrations and even inspired the natural approach to which the illustrations were derived.

How have your concepts evolved since the Ideas Phase? (1,000 characters)

At the beginning of the challenge, my concept was the lack of Security awareness as a problem when it comes to navigating the digital world. After an arduous work of refinement together with my mentor and the community, my concept evolved towards basic concepts of Security awareness seen from a natural analog approach, where predator and prey have evolved to develop or defend themselves from attack vectors. The idea is to empower the audience by exposing them to useful and concrete security concepts, while showing them ways to minimize the risks of exposing themselves to a security breach.

How have you been able to incorporate technical accuracy into your concepts? (1000 characters)

By including concepts such as multiple attackers, multiple vectors and multiple targets, it was easy to relate this to herds and groups interacting with each other through vectors of attack and defense.

How do your concepts expand the conversation on cybersecurity? (1000 characters)

By showing empowered users through a cross-cultural reference, we can begin to educate audiences on the practice of cybersecurity as something positive and normal in a society. Like customs or memes that can be transmitted from generation to generation as part of the cultural baggage. There are also issues about how the digital environment is a living environment, and just as the arms race of the natural world has evolved its attack vectors and defenses, it is natural in the digital world that methods of attack and defense evolve organically, analogous to the natural evolution of species.

If you were provided with additional time and resources, are there additional ways that you’d wish to reimagine the visual language of cybersecurity? (1,000 characters)

I would like to create a series of signage symbols representing the cybersecurity issues and safety measures through print or digital media, embedding them into the collective imaginary, transcending us as individuals and society in time. (e.g. icons of nuclear or biological risk).

What resources did you find most helpful? (optional, 1,000 characters)

The call with the cybersecurity mentor, the link to O'Reilly's animal covers and definitely the declassified NSA Cold War information security posters.

Commitment to Creative Commons License (CC BY 4.0)

  • Yes, I ensure that my portfolio is in compliance with CC BY 4.0.

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Photo of hetoni7270 hetoni7270

This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality. This is very nice one and gives indepth information. Thanks for this nice article.
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