Go ASCII to spread cybersecurity awareness

Security & Privacy

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

The theme this year is “Our Shared Responsibility.”  And to illustrate how much we rely on each other to keep the Internet safe, we’re asking you to join us in a little experiment. The idea came Jan and Leonard, two fine F-Secure fellows inspired by the Facebook Celebrity Doppelganger phenomenon.

Here’s the plan

Turn your Facebook profile picture to an ASCII image by 10/10/10 to spread cybersecurity awareness.

What’s an ASCII image?

ASCII is the American Standard Code for Information Interchange, and ASCII Art was born out of the necessity in the pre-graphics era of computing.  Using the 95 printable characters on most computer keyboards, you can create a recognizable and unique image. Using ASCII is a tribute to the ingenuity that made the digital technological revolution possible. Here’s what an ASCII image as a profile pic looks like on our Facebook page.

How do I convert my profile image into ASCII art?

  1. Copy the Image Location of your profile picture.
    PC: Right click on the picture and select “Copy Image Location”.
    Mac: Hold down “Command” and click on the image. Select “Copy Image Address”.
  2. Go to an ASCII image generator. You can try the one at Glass Giant.com or TEXT-IMAGE.com.
  3. Take a screen shot of your ASCII image.
    PC: Hold down “Alt” and press the “Print Scrn/SysRq” button.
    Mac: Hold down “Command”, “Shift” and “4” and then use the crosshairs to select your image. More info here.
    (You may want increase or decrease your browser view to get the image right.
    PC: Press “Ctrl” and the “-“ or “+” button to change image size.
    Mac: “Command” and the “-“ or “+” button to change image size.)
  4. Paste the image into Photoshop, MS Paint or any image editing software.
  5. Select the image you want and save it in a new file as a jpeg (.jpg).
  6. Go to your Facebook profile. Click on your profile image. Click on “Change Picture” and then “Upload a Picture”. Select your ASCII image.

What then?

Post a message on your wall letting your friends know that you’ve gone ASCII for Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Link to http://www.staysafeonline.org/ or this page spread cybersecurity awareness.

Stay safe,



Rate this article

0 votes


The images are still pretty recognizable, Miia. Even so, “The user is allowed to skip 2 challenges. That’s good, because sometimes picking the right name can be tricky.” So this would have to be extremely successful to affect the CAPTCHA process.

Also, as a part of my effort of personal cyber security, I do not upload any pictures of myself that can possibly be linked to myself via my IP address to any third party sites that I don’t trust, including the site your blog entry suggests to use for turning my profile image into ASCII art…

[…] Go ASCII To Spread Cybersecurity AwarenessASCII is the American Standard Code for Information Interchange, and ASCII Art was born out of the necessity in the pre-graphics era of computing. While I’m all in for spreading awareness about cyber security, have you given a thought on how this affects Facebook’s Social CAPTCHA? … Access Content […]

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

You might also like