Hashes to Ashes was first conceived when we participated in a hackfest earlier this year, called Memebrain. This work was prototyped over two days from an inkling of an idea to a working model. During this process we worked together to develop the logic and the workings of the piece. At the end of the hackfest, the work, along with other participants’ were shown on a large LED screen atop the Concourse at Chatswood, Sydney.
The work is a data-visualisation piece which uses the trove of hashed passwords released into the public domain by some hackers in the middle of 2012, as the result of a breach of the defences of a major social networking site. We use the hashed passwords and some of the decrypted ones to create our work. We use the hexadecimal numbers contained in each hash to generate colours and over the colours we overlay decrypted passwords.
Through this work, we would like to raise the fragility of our privacy in an interconnected world that is the internet. Often the difference between private and public information is just a word that we are supposed to guard closely. This word, now has become something that can be revealed by hackers using new techniques and commodity computer hardware.
See our prototype online on http://art.a9project.net/hashestoashes
Update: project is currently offline