Hackers make it their life’s mission to remain anonymous, but it seems that we all know exactly what they look like because the only “real” images of hackers we could see are the ones that news organizations buy from photobanks. And every one of the news organizations is covering hackers nowadays. And there are a LOT of photobanks out there. You do the math.
Duh. Everyone knows that because this stereotypical hacker image shows up in essentially every article ever written about hacking or cyber security attacks — from iCloud breaches and DDoS attacks to the recent WannaCrypt ransomware attack.
We too have fallen victim to using stock photos of keyboards in dark rooms to accompany stories about Russian hacks or cyber security attacks. But, man, if you saw some of what we’re choosing from, you’d realize that we have very little wiggle room here.
It works great for the sake of getting the message across, but the images are laughable. And as you can see by this beautiful selection of hacking photos, they lead to an incredibly stereotypical definition of a hacker.
Judging from these visual gems, here’s what we know about hackers for sure:
Gloves are a key part of the hacker aesthetic. You can take the gloves off the hacker, but you can never take the hacker out of the gloves.
Aside from being intelligent computer geniuses and not sucking blood, hackers aren’t all that different from vampires.
It’s the RULES, okay?!
Even the FBI — an organization that should have access to real images of hackers — has disseminated similar images. According to the FBI, the male hacker also wears a dark hoodie and has eyes invisible to the rest of the world though he does, in fact, have a face.
— FBI (@FBI) December 12, 2016
Media! Most hackers I know don’t look anything like this, and don’t hang around in rooms with binary in digital green. pic.twitter.com/ks3pAuzYG2
— Jamie Bartlett (@JamieJBartlett) May 14, 2017
Some hackers out there are surely sitting at their laptops surrounded by multiple half-empty coffee cups, some snacks, a to-do list — heck, they’re probably bingeing Netflix on their second monitor with their Facebook account open in a separate tab as they torture themselves by checking in on their exes.
Show us THAT hacker next time, O.K., stock photo companies? Show us a real hacker. Oh, and let’s all just agree to put a moratorium on the stereotype and stop using the same damn photo.