Cranor’s “Security Blanket” Wins Recognition in Visualization Contest

Lorrie Cranor, an associate professor of computer science and engineering and public policy, and director of the CyLab Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory, was recently recognized as one of 18 winners, honorable mentions and people’s choice awardees from the International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge.

A quilt created by Cranor, “Security Blanket,” took honorable mention in the illustration category. The quilt displays a multicolored "word cloud" of the 1000 most common passwords in the social gaming website, RockYou. The passwords were sized according to their frequency and colored according to their theme. The most common – “123456” – was chosen by three times as many people as the next most popular password. 

The contest, which is jointly run by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the journal Science, exemplifies the old axiom, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” It celebrates the long tradition of using various types of illustrations to communicate the complexities of science, engineering and technology for education and journalistic purposes when words aren’t enough.

While on sabbatical during the 2012-2013 academic year she worked on visualizing security and privacy concepts through art as a fellow of the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry. 


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