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Redefining Security Visualization With Hollywood UI Design 55

An anonymous reader writes: Most security interfaces today leave a lot to be desired, and many security pros are gaming enthusiasts, accustomed to a sharp and engaging virtual world. ProtectWise CEO Scott Chasin and CTO Gene Stevens wanted to give them a helpful security tool with an interactive visual dashboard that looks straight out of Call of Duty. The UI is called ProtectWise Visualizer, and its creator is Jake Sargeant, FX pro and a visual designer at MN8 Studio. If his name sounds familiar, it's because he was the Lead Animated Graphics Artist for the movie TRON: Legacy. There's plenty of inspiration available for movie-style UIs; the problem with much of it is that not everyone likes an interface that looks like an especially busy video game.
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Redefining Security Visualization With Hollywood UI Design

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  • fix it first (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 13, 2015 @12:40PM (#50309997)

    Lets start by fixing all of the broken "security" mechanisms, then move on to adding a bunch of useless bells and whistles to your monitoring suit. I looked at the UI. It's a fucking ugly mess and in no way would benefit my work, in fact it would make it harder because I'll have to figure out the cheat codes.

    the internet isn't tron, it's not 3d buildings with packets flying around. We don't need to Jazz up the interface, we need to repair all of the damage that has been done, this doesn't help that at all.

    What it does do though, is make your security guy feel really special because he's got this epic whiz bang interface with pie charts and graphs and lots of blinking lights.

    True security is done in logs.

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      That and this: security is notorious for being unmeasurable. How much security do I get if I spend $x? The biggest problem is the black swan problem. I stop 99.9999% of all attempts to break in, but the one I do let in completely exfiltrate all my data. Worse, little data here, a little data there, and sooner or later I have real information about your operation. It is hard to add data together to figure out what information the interloper got. If I exfiltrate a single bit, I have...errr...a bit. However, i

      • if I know that 0 means Donald Trump's hair is a weasel with eyes, and 1 means his hair is a creature from the planet Pluton

        This is why writing in binary is painful for most people to imagine.

    • Lets start by fixing all of the broken "security" mechanisms

      There's no fixing human stupidity.

    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      There is some merit to a status display at a glance, just to see alerts. However, there are a ton of things that need to be in for thought:

      1: The alerts have to be meaningful. I've worked with more alerting programs than I care to remember (Netview, OpenView, Bit Brother, hobbit, SCOM, SCVMM, vSphere, xymon, Splunk, SenSage, SolarWinds, tripwire and many other), and the biggest problem with all of them is having them hand you alerts that actually matter. A status screen always glowing red because some d

    • True security is done in logs.

      I get what you're saying, and you certainly have a valid point about flashy GUIs not necessarily being effective GUIs.

      However, speaking as someone who does a lot of UI work, there is also the other side of the coin, which is that CLIs and plain text log files are often neither the most efficient nor the most accurate way to configure or discover the things you care about.

      In their favour, plain text formats are amenable to scripting and analysis using general text manipulation tools, and of course they have

    • "True security is done in logs."

      When your systems are generating multiple gigabytes of log data every day, you need some sort of system to turn that mass of raw data into useful information. I don't know that this system does that, but we're about ten years past the point of manual log review being a viable primary method for handling security.

    • epic whiz bang interface with pie charts and graphs and lots of blinking lights.

      Executives eat this shit up.

      This is exactly what they did in my company. They put all the security guys behind a glass wall with CSI style lighting and giant TV's with "realtime attack maps", "global security health checks" and other useless crap that's displayed n sexy graphs and EGC style graphics.

      It's all a show.

  • An mp4 of the dashboard visualizer is on the page at

    https://www.protectwise.com/pl... [protectwise.com]

    instead of a tiny jpg.

    Looks nice for a dash.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I followed the link, it wants me to sign up for a demo? No thanks lol I'd rather see this mp4 because the jpeg indeed makes it look like a garbled mess.

  • While I like the idea of thinking about UI improvements, and I certainly don't mind having new ideas in the realm, the thing that you most need to consider when bringing UI ideas from the game world is that gaming is designed to be challenging, while the purpose of a good functional UI is to remove challenges. Bringing UI ideas in from hollywood is slightly easier, because their intent is to be visually interesting, which is a bonus for a functional UI if, and only if, you can make it visually interesting

    • Except the UIs in games are designed to convey as much information as possible as readily as possible.

      Game designers don't make the displays for the stuff you need to know difficult ... they make them useful.

      Conveying more information quickly is something we don't see enough of. Especially with the trend of putting everything in a web page.

      As a high-level "show me everything I need to know in one screen", I'd say this has done a really good job of that.

  • To see if I can track an IP address!

  • Have we reached a new low where now Slashdot articles are supported by a link to Pinterest?
  • The rail gun was much more fun than typing out kill -TERM [unm.edu].

  • Video game UIs are often very good, if flashy. They have to be--they're actually used, and used by people who want good performance.

    Simulated UIs in movies and TV, on the other hand, just have to look good, and feed whatever plot information is relevant to the audience. This means things are done that really wouldn't work in a real UI. That's why attempts to turn Star Trek's "LCARS" interface into a real UI have fallen on their faces.

    • Simulated UIs in movies and TV, on the other hand, just have to look good, and feed whatever plot information is relevant to the audience. This means things are done that really wouldn't work in a real UI.

      But isn't feeding relevant information to the user in an easily readable form the core function of any UI?

      • Two problems with that: a) the user of the UI is not the viewer of the movie. They have different needs--what information is relevant is largely different. and b) "feeding relevant information" is only half the core functionality of a UI. The other half is providing effective control, which is completely irrelevant in a movie's simulated UI.

  • If his name sounds familiar [it doesn't - Ed], it's because he was the Lead Animated Graphics Artist for the movie TRON: Legacy.

    So he knows about as much about designing real UIs for real systems that real people use to do real tasks as C.S. Lewis did about travelling through a real magic wardrobe and helping a real talking lion to overthrow a real witch who can really turn creatures to stone.

    I could go on.

  • There are 2 problems:

    1. A lot of "futuristic" UI relies on touch. This is retarded. Arms get tired.
    I guess that isn't as flashy as a machine that can read your brainwaves.

    2. All these display devices take up tons of physical room. Again this is dumb. A HD version of Google glass, or an implant on the cornea, would provide tons of virtual space and not take up bulky "monitors". I guess "wall sized" monitors is sexy though.

  • It's a Unix system. I know this!

  • ... and many programs for that matter.

    MS gets into trouble every time they release a new OS and its mostly gripes about GUI issues. Why not solve that by having them be two separate products?

    There are already some third party GUIs. They generally fall back on MS interfaces when things get down and dirty but the general file navigation and application execution and desktop experience is already something you can replace in some cases.

    MS should have a framework/api for replacing the interface with... whatever

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