Office of Creative Research

 

This office worked in dealing with security matters, specifically bots. Bots are essentially spam but also have the ability to make more of themselves, so they have become a huge problem in internet security. Anything with a computer chip and a wireless connection can be infected, even if the connection isn’t directly going online, it can talk to a device that is online and use their connection to spread more bots.

Jer Thorp and his team developed different ways of analyzing data from these bots. More interestingly, they created a way to not only visualize the data but to represent data as audio. When Jer and his team make a graph of data, they use color code and line patterns to represent the varying data. When presented with a large amount of data, it becomes more difficult to see outliers or changes in the erratic patterns of the data visualization. This is the reason that they have developed methods of listening to the data. The methods they demonstrated to us played a tone when a certain number of interaction occurred with a particular spam bot. I thought it was interesting that once in a while it would name the city that the data was coming from. To aid interaction with the data representations, Jer used a Microsoft touchscreen monitor similar to a Smartboard. This seemed to increase the effectiveness of the data representations while making it easier for the user these with direct, gesture based interactions.