Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries

Copyright: CASA, IRA Marcks

Coloring Book

From Webcomic to Coloring Book: As part of the ERCcOMICS project, CASA PI Thorsten Holz's project BASTION, funded by the European Research Council (ERC), was portrayed in a webcomic. In collaboration with the comic artist Ira Marcks, the comic "The Exploit" was created based on the research content. To approach IT security research even more creatively, this comic was transformed into a coloring book that invites people to draw, paint, and doodle.

The Exploit - by BASTION and the Cluster of Excellence CASA

Cover des Malbuchs

Copyright: CASA, Ira Marcks

About the Project

BASTION was an ERC-funded project (2015-2020) focused on cybersecurity with an emphasis on the so-called Internet of Things (IoT). The project created preparatory work for the Cluster of Excellence CASA (Cybersecurity in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries), which started in 2019.

BASTION's research was depicted in a webcomic in 2018 as part of the ERC-funded project ERCcOMICS. The aim of the comic project was to make the findings of ERC-funded projects more tangible and understandable to society through the medium of comics. Thorsten Holz' comic was realized by cartoonist Ira Marcks under the title "The Exploit".

About the Content

In "The Exploit," you're transported to 2032, where you'll meet the Cynical Cyclops Club, made up of young Lane and Charlie, whose activities range from hacking science fairs to compromising an entire country's school exams. But that's just the beginning: Lane, along with her father, will end up in the middle of a global technology scandal that exposes the vulnerabilities of a worldwide network of integrated systems.

Insights into the Coloring Book

Zeichnung aus CASA Malbuch

Copyright: Ira Marcks

Zeichnung aus CASA Malbuch

Copyright: Ira Marcks

Zeichnung aus CASA Malbuch

Copyright: Ira Marcks

Thorsten Holz

Zeichnung von Thorsten Holz

Copyright: Ira Marcks

Thorsten is a tenured faculty member at the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security. Previously, he was a professor at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at Ruhr-Universität Bochum until October 2021.His research interests include technical aspects of secure systems, with a specific focus on systems security. Currently, his work concentrates on reverse engineering, automated vulnerability detection, and studying latest attack vectors. 

In 2014 he received an ERC Starting Grant for the project BASTION, the inspiration behind this coloring book.

Ira Marcks

Zeichnung von Ira Marcks

Copyright: Ira Marcks

Ira is a cartoonist living in upstate New York. His work is inspired by vintage cartoons, science fiction, poetry and children’s books. Ira teaches creative illustration and narrative art on the learning platform Skillshare.

If you are interested in the coloring book, please contact us at hgi-presse(at) We will then send you a copy.