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The Cybersecurity Visuals Challenge: Tip of the Week


During the Ideas Phase, the Hewlett Foundation shared weekly tips to help guide the Challenge community in their learning journey. The full Challenge Brief is available here.


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Look at how others have tackled the challenge of cyber imagery. Beyond the terrible stock art we’ve all seen, there are a variety of approaches to picture different aspects of cybersecurity. Here’s a few:

  • Cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike has been naming (and drawing!) the advanced persistent threat actors (APTs)—everyone from nation-states to criminal gangs—they come across in their work, and now have more than 100 APTs in their index. Be sure to click through for the illustrations!
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), “the leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world,” has a well-developed visual style, and many of their illustrations are openly licensed for others to remix and build upon. 
  • Even the National Security Agency (NSA), the U.S. intelligence agency responsible for offensive and defensive cyber operations, has a rich history of motivational posters for their staff that are well worth a look. As Amy Pollard at Slate magazine put it: The NSA’s Declassified Cold War Propaganda Posters Are a Bizarre Delight.

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Immerse yourself in popular-culture depictions of cybersecurity. From Wargames to Sneakers to Mr. Robot  there’s a rich history of hackers on screen. Former U.S. Cyber diplomat Chris Painter gathered some of the best (and worst) examples at the #CyberMovie hashtag.

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Learn about the stakes: Even the eye-popping number of compromised accounts from the latest hack don’t tell the full story of the huge  stakes involved in cybersecurity today. For two takes on the real-world consequences of attacks that began in cyberspace, check out: