It’s time to take ownership of our image

Gloves
Goggles
Checkered body suits

The representation of hackers in stock media spans a narrow band of reality between the laughable and the absurd.

It overshadows the fact that lots of hackers are security professionals. They may dress differently, but they serve a critical function in the economy.

It’s easy to satirize the way the media and Hollywood portray hackers. Dorkly and Daniel J. Solove have excellently skewered many of them.

What’s harder -and more productive- would be a repository of stock assets of real-life hackers wearing -yes- hoodies, but also more formal attire. Some scenes may show dark rooms at night. Others will be in daytime offices.

If the media used the repository maybe it’d change the public’s perception. Maybe it would show aspiring hackers -boys and girls- that we’re just like them, and that if they work hard they could join our ranks.

We’re kicking off this “Hacker Anthology” by contributing stock video footage of our own employees and a hacker typer script that we made last year for fun.

In a few weeks, I’ll be in Las Vegas for Blackhat and Defcon with many of you. If there’s enough interest, I’ll hire a photographer for a few hours to build up our portfolio of stock photos. It should be a fun time. Get in touch with me if you’d be interested in contributing.

—–

I poured through dozens of truly awful and hilarious photos while writing this blog post. Here are some of my favorites that I stumbled upon from around the net:

I have met DAOAttacker and can confirm this is what they look like:

Play a hacker on TV, become a hacker in real life:

One of my favorite novelty Twitter accounts:

In some cases, bad stock photography can be physically harmful:
stock-image-fail-soldering-iron-bob-byron-1

I, too, look intently at screens that are turned off:
stock-photo-88593521-scientist-uses-modern-technology-for-its-research

If I had a nickel for every time I saw this photo used:
depositphotos_11605816-Security-concept-lock-on-digital

Alex Sotirov schooling the kids on cyberpunk style before the Hackers 15th anniversary party:
shot0737

What are you favorite hacker stock photos? Leave a comment below.

One thought on “It’s time to take ownership of our image

  1. I think the problem is that “cyber” is a very vague and abstract thing. For an educational programme in security analysis it took us some effort to find a picture that didn’t involve people with hoodies or locks with swirling bits and bytes (just google “cyber” and you get the weirdest images). In the end we went with toy soldiers on a laptop keyboard:
    https://www.rotterdamuas.com/programmes/exchange/SecurityLab/.

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