back to article Fed-up graphic design outfit dangles cash to anyone who can free infosec of hoodie pics

Uninspired by the stock imagery used by the media to depict cybersecurity, a graphic design group is offering cash prizes to anyone who comes up with something more original than dodgy hoodie-wearing laptop users with waterfalls of cascading 1s and 0s behind them. Challenging the very foundations upon which El Reg's image …

  1. Alister Silver badge

    Some research is indicated

    An anonymous poll of all hackers to discover how many of them actually own and regularly wear a hoodie.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Some research is indicated

      .. which would immediately get hacked, just to prove a point.

      Never tangle with people who combine skill and a sense of humour :).

    2. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Some research is indicated

      Maybe they sit at home, unwashed, and coding in their dressing gowns like Linus?

      That's not a coat icon, it's a dressing gown...

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Some research is indicated

        If they can't be bothered to wash, what makes you think they'd wear a dressing gown?

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: Will Godfrey

          I see your retort, and i raise you - "bollock naked, in a leather chair, with a laptop and a cup of coffee".

          1. theN8

            Re: Will Godfrey

            NOW we're talking.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Will Godfrey

              You'll never get the stains out ..

              This has been a message by the suede armchair association.

              Never combine buck with buck naked.

              :)

        2. Tom Paine Silver badge

          Re: Some research is indicated

          If they can't be bothered to wash, what makes you think they'd wear a dressing gown?

          One word: pizza.

          1. stiine Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Some research is indicated

            Bah, you can't burn your important bits eating cold pizza.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Some research is indicated

        It's been far too warm for dressing gowns, we've been sitting around in our undies. Note that the "unwashed hacker" image is false, most of us bathe (and/or surf) regularly. It's only the marketing types (Steve Jobs, etc.) who rarely bother. So you are not imagining things ... everything that comes out of the marketing department really does stink.

        As a "only in Silly Con Valley" side-note ... here in the Bay Area, it's finally Fogust. Our natural air conditioning[0] is wafting in off the Pacific, dropping the temperature 20 to 30 degrees F (10 to 15 C) in places. Lovely low clouds/high fog this morning in Sonoma, and a trifle too cool for undies-as-a-lifestyle-statement.

        [0] Named Karl; if you want to follow him on twitter, try @KarlTheFog ...

    3. Anne-Lise Pasch

      Re: Some research is indicated

      The IP addresses were collated, GDPR ignored, and GCHQ thus determined:

      Of 50 applicants, 49 addresses were confirmed as home/business addresses and discounted.

      The one secured IP address belonged to a Russian VPN service, and was probably Putin.

    4. John Gamble

      Re: Some research is indicated

      Never owned a hoodie, I'm afraid.

      I had, a few decades ago, a pair of mountain climbing boots. I think that counts for something.

      Real Programmers Don't Write Specs.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Some research is indicated

        I'm wearing my White's boots today. Probably because I'm gong to be hacking[0] until sundown, or thereabouts.

        [0] Eradicating a dozen or so of those fucking useless eucalyptus weeds for a neighbor.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Some research is indicated

          I wear climbing/walking boots to work too. Maybe that's the real image, a mountain climbing boot wearing, lip smacking, thirst quenchin, axe tastin, motivatin, good buzzing, cool talkin, highway walkin, fast livin, ever given, cool hacker dude.

          1. Tom Paine Silver badge

            Re: Some research is indicated

            "...in case a mountain should suddenly spring up in the server room", as it's so elegantly put in the Jargon File / Hacker's Dictionary (first published, oh, 30 years ago maybe?)

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: Some research is indicated

              I think the first published version of the JF / HD, for some interpretation of "published", was the first edition of The New Hacker's Dictionary. ESR's preface to the second edition says the first was published in 1983. The second edition is copyright 1993.

              So around 36 years ago. The Jargon File itself of course is older, but I don't know offhand when it started circulating informally.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Some research is indicated

                I first ran across it at SAIL in about 1975. It was called AIWORD.RF ... From there, it went to MIT (in 1976?), and was informally kept in sync with the Stanford version. At this point, it was well known in the fledgling Internet community, with many contributions from the PDP/Lisp/AI folks around the world. And then Guy Steele decided to make a quick buck off the backs of those who had gone before him, thus commercializing it. ESR copied Steele and also made a couple bucks. Most of us had already lost interest at that point, and so it's been nothing more than a bit of history ever since. One of the oldest versions I'm aware of online is here.

                Prior to all this, there was a similar list, compiled by the MIT Tech Model Railroad Club in the late 1950s. It was called "The Dictionary of the TMRC Language".

        2. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Some research is indicated

          Probably because I'm gong to be hacking[0] until sundown, or thereabouts.

          Heh. The IRC channel for our hackerspace is occasionally visited by scriptkiddies who want to improve their L33t H4xz0r 5k1LLz.

          They usually get told to avail themselves of a F1n3 H4xx0ring T00l first, like a Gränsfors or Hultafors, or maybe the more widely available Fiskars X27 and X45. Then the personal protection, because who wants to get hurt themselves when h4ckxz0ring? And the choice of the best target.

          Ones that manage to hang on until that point may find themselves advised to upgrade to a Stihl or Husqvarna after the first few successful jobs.

          The KWF Schnittschutzjacke, thanks.

          1. Tom Paine Silver badge

            Re: Some research is indicated

            A shout out here to the expensive but astoundingly wonderful Fiskars 4m telescopic tree pruners. Well worth £100 if you have low trees annoying your neightbours - or the other way round, though you'd have to get the neighbour to stand still while you saw thru your limb of choice with the terrifyingly sharp pruning saw attachment.

            (No connection to Fiskars, just a happy customer.)

      2. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

        Re: Some research is indicated

        I'm in a pair of K2 Alpine Mountain Boots because we're gonna do a night climb up a cliff in a few hours! It's too hot and humid during the day here in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for us older folks (i.e. 25C and cloudy and mildly drizzly right now) so we do our hacker entertainment stuff at night!

        Tomorrow we will scuba dive under some boat pier in Deep Cove, Kayak and Swim the local lake across from Deep Cove, have sushi/sashimi with multiple doses of Asbach Uralt Brandy, and later in the day mountain bike down the North Shore mountains or at the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.

        AND in the DEEEEEEEP BLACK NIGHT within the backroom confines of a a local all-night gourmet coffee and dessert shop, we'll be coding and running Python scripts probing for weaknesses in the world's MOST SECRET data repositories sloffing-off data from the most double-faced politicians and business leaders in the world! The still photos, videos and PDF and MS Word documents we have WILL scandalize ENTIRE generations of pathetic, scummy, perverted, criminal Baby Boomers, Gen-X'ers and even a few Millennials which WE WILL EXPOSE and DERIDE IN PUBLIC !!!

        We're coming for you !!! Ya Raggedy Over-Rich and Political Scumbags! We're coming for YOU !!!! And YOU and your scumbag/trophy wives/girlfriends AND yours/theirs bastard thieving kids are GOING TO JAIL !!!!

        It doesn't MATTER where you are in the world! Or what leadership position you hold! We've GOT YOU !!! You tried to HIDE your scandals BUT we've got you COLD !!!

        Can you say SEC and IRS investigation? Can you say U.S. SuperMax prison or German Bundes-Justiz jailroom, the Chinese Rock Quarry or the Merciless Trial of Television and Public Opinion leaving you Friendless, Derided, Destitute and Denuded!

        We are Legend! We are PUBLIC !!! And we have coded YOU BLUE !!!

        .

        P.S. Python and Ruby on Rails FOREVER !!!!!!!

        .

        1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

          Re: Some research is indicated

          I got a hoodie at an anti-virus conference. It's too warm here to regular wear it. After the storm yesterday it has now cooled down to 28.4°C, 86%.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wish I would wear a hoodie at work

    Sadly as a guy I'm expected to wear a shirt and tie to then sit at a computer 99% of the time. I doubt my PC cares to be honest.

    1. Peter Mount

      Re: Wish I would wear a hoodie at work

      Fortunately I've not worn a strangulation device (tie) in years.

      That said I can wear whatever I want - working from home has it's benefits :-)

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Re: Wish I would wear a hoodie at work

        That said I can wear whatever I want - working from home has it's benefits

        Ah yes; Dilbert found that as well: https://dilbert.com/strip/1995-02-07

        1. cream wobbly

          Re: Wish I would wear a hoodie at work

          1995? Is that back when he wasn't a steaming racist eugenicist? (Or at least before it was generally known...?)

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Wish I would wear a hoodie at work

        I quite like a tie myself. But I also work from home, and it's really not worth the effort if no one's there to see it.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Wish I would wear a hoodie at work

      I'm lucky, in our job we can basically wear what we like.

      Of course, being an office full of IT types, we're not exactly talking high fashion, but at least I can wear shorts when it's hot. Oh, and I do wear a hoodie when it's cold.

      1. NeilPost Bronze badge

        Re: Wish I would wear a hoodie at work

        I guess your office’s smart image control tech is a load of garbage and manages to be both too hot and too cold on the same day.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A more realistic image...

    Hmm. It's tricky...if you need a skid style image then a 14 year old in a messy bedroom full of Minecraft posters with his mum shouting at him is probably accurate.

    1. Steve K Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: A more realistic image...

      Minecraft?

      Fortnite/PUBG/GTAV, grandad.....

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: A more realistic image...

        GTAV? That's not exactly a great deal more current, it was released in 2013...

        1. Derezed

          You'll have seen...

          You'll have seen the recent addition of gambling with real money in the GTA V online universe...right on trend, bang up to date!

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: A more realistic image...

        There's that "grandad as an insult" again ... as if anybody who actually was a grandad would be insulted by being called that. You kiddies need to think before attempting insults lest you make yourself look sillier than you actually are.

        1. Steve K Silver badge

          Re: A more realistic image...

          That was simply sarcasm. I am 50......

          1. cream wobbly

            Re: A more realistic image...

            ......fellow kids!

          2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: A more realistic image...

            "That was simply sarcasm. I am 50......"

            Ahhh, so you're a great granddad?

          3. stiine Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: A more realistic image...

            so 1968 was a really great year for your parents, too.

      3. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: A more realistic image...

        At least one of my nephews is still addicted to Minecraft....

        1. cream wobbly
          Meh

          Re: A more realistic image...

          See, you said "still addicted". Just as there are newer games to be addicted to, there are newer nephews to addict.

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: A more realistic image... is here!

      So this is my submission-

      https://www.openideo.com/our-team

      Hackers! Or potential hackers! No need to send me the prize, I've already taken it from your account. Also has the benefit of challenging the male-dominated hacker stereotype.

      But wait..

      We’re doers, storytellers, problem solvers, and community builders on a mission to design change. If you’ve got superpowered skills and shared passion, we’d love to meet you.

      Because we haven't a clue how to meet this brief ourselves. Then again, thinking about this some more.. Hacker stereotypes include poor diet, a constant stream of sugary drinks and poor personal hygiene. So obviously these people can't be hackers. Just look at those teeth! Remember your PPE, but then if you're a hacker, you'll already be wearing shades. Real hackers just don't have teeth like those, especially after a few years of improvised wire-stripping & crimping.

      1. wayne 8 Bronze badge

        Re: A more realistic image... is here!

        That team is all managers with an underpaid "Design Fellow" at the bottom to do the work, whatever it is.

        1. Nolveys Silver badge

          Re: A more realistic image... is here!

          the work, whatever it is.

          Combining like-oriented synergies to actualize positive realization in the social web sphere paradigm.

    3. Brian Miller

      Re: A more realistic image...

      We just need more images of Paige Thompson. If that person isn't disreputable-looking, I don't know who could fill the bill.

      1. macjules Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: A more realistic image...

        No idea why someone downvoted you - I thought that was a brilliant comment.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: A more realistic image...

          She has a cat. Maybe the downvote was by a member of the Anti Cat Defamation League.

    4. Tikimon Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: A more realistic image...

      Bah. These days, "hackers" are well-paid professionals working for well-funded organizations. They probably dress business casual, work in offices with carefully unexciting paint schemes and a few pictures on the desk. Such outfits - teamwork yanno - won't have a place for screw-ups with no social skills, bad hygiene, and dress like hobos.

      Like intelligence officers (spies) they look exactly like everyone else.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: A more realistic image...

        These days, "hackers" are well-paid professionals working for well-funded organizations. They probably dress business casual, work in offices with carefully unexciting paint schemes and a few pictures on the desk

        Or they wear uniforms with technically themed regimental badges.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A more realistic image...

        > Like intelligence officers (spies) they look exactly like everyone else.

        Hey, I resemble that remark.

      3. NeilPost Bronze badge

        Re: A more realistic image...

        GCHQ, NSA, KGB, Chinese state....

    5. teknopaul Silver badge

      Re: A more realistic image...

      Perhaps a little icon of Bob screwing Alice with Eve looking thru the window having a wank.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: A more realistic image...

        I know that's a common meme in the porn world ... but somewhat strangely, while I've often heard of boys getting caught peeping in windows, I've never heard of girls in the same position. Perhaps not so strange ... they call 'em "peeping toms" and not "peeping marys" for a reason.

        And yet another silly little boy fantasy disappears in a sudden burst of reality ...

        1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

          Re: A more realistic image...

          Just because you haven't heard of it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I have dealt with at least two cases directly, and know of a handful more. Police don't tend to prosecute women if there is a complaint - psychiatric services are the first port of call. I'll leave drawing conclusions to others...

    6. charlie-charlie-tango-alpha

      Re: A more realistic image...

      This is what hackers look like.

      Everywhere.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/11/technology/11cybergames.html

  4. pogul

    Bullshit

    A graphic design company that can't produce or commission their own images? Sound just a tiny weeny bit like an advertising campaign to me -- why is the register indulging them?

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Why is the Register indulging them?

      Made you click.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Bullshit

      And they already someone in mind to give the cash to.

      Been there, seen too many "contests" like this.

      1. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: Bullshit

        Do you have a Marlboro and a cordite-blackened face to go with that marketing overload thousand-yard stare?

    3. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: Bullshit

      A guy who built a model of Salisbury Cathedral out of matchsticks got 6 minutes on the Today Programme this morning. Yes kids, it's August, so only the most absurd and inconsequential speculation and clickbait gets printed / broadcast. @Stone_SkyNews had a perfect example last night as it goes.

      :-|

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Excellentsword (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: TITSUP

      Interesting doesn't start with a U, bud

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: TITSUP

        Unless you are a shepherd...

        1. Alister Silver badge

          Re: TITSUP

          What are ewe on about?

      2. choleric

        Re: TITSUP

        Exactly. That's how bad things are. Even TITSUP is TITSUP, I mean TITSIP, now.

    2. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: TITSUP

      Total Inability To Source Interesting Pictures

      That's TITSIP...

      1. Mr Catbert

        Re: TITSUP

        Total Inability To Spurn Uninteresting Pictures?

        1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

          Re: TITSUP

          Timely Intervention To Supplant Uninspiring Pics

  6. joeW Silver badge

    Pitching their contest at Infosec bods

    And yet I had to enable/trust javascript from three different domains (their own, and two alphabetti-spaghetti cloudflare subdomains) in order to expand the Terms and Conditions fine print sections on their website.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Re: Pitching their contest at Infosec bods

      Actually it's pitched at coloured-pencils types, with the winners provided with guidance from infosec bods. How they intend to source those is unclear, perhaps dangling a bacon sarnie at a white hat con ?

  7. DrXym Silver badge

    Truth in advertising

    A picture of a pallid overweight greaseball sitting in a blacked out filthy bedroom is probably more realistic.

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: Truth in advertising

      Or a Russian or Korean in military uniform?

      1. tfewster Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Truth in advertising

        Do NSA/GCHQ geeks wear Russian/Korean/Iranian military uniforms when planting their false flags? Now that's method acting!

      2. wayne 8 Bronze badge

        Re: Truth in advertising

        I was thinking of a room full of IDF uniforms.

        Locked in mortal keyboard combat.

        1. Mr Sceptical
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Truth in advertising

          By their own admission, lets start with NSA/GCHQ/Five eyes team photos. Oh wait, they only ever hack the BAD GUYS (TM)...

          Seriously though, start with some pictures of an office in GRU Unit 26165 and PLA Unit 61398 and go from there.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Truth in advertising

      I agree. Also the de rigeur "Matrix" style 1's and 0's background needs to go in favour of unwashed socks, aging half-empty pizza boxes under a layer of green fur and hundreds of unrecyclable coffee cups.

      1. ArrZarr Silver badge

        Re: Truth in advertising

        I protest!

        All my pizza boxes are empty.

        Also, I'm not a hacker.

      2. defiler Silver badge

        Re: Truth in advertising

        The Matrix is twenty years old now.

        Happy Feeling-Old Day, everyone!

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Truth in advertising

          Happy Feeling-Old Day, everyone!

          Although looking on the bright side, I guess the leather trenchcoat is now officially antique/vintage clothing. Keanu's 2077 Silverhands look is rather more stylish I think than remembering hordes of Neo-clones at vintage DefCons.

        2. Psmo Bronze badge
          Windows

          Re: Truth in advertising

          For some of us, every day is Feeling-Old Day.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Truth in advertising

            My 104 years young Great Aunt says you're not allowed to feel old until you've passed your 100th birthday. After watching her split kindling to start her woodstove in the morning to make coffee, I have decided to accept that as Gospel.

            (She has an all electric kitchen, but still makes her coffee on the Jotul, in a Corning Ware percolator, with eggshells in with the grounds. She says electric coffee doesn't taste right. Who are we to argue?)

      3. Steve Aubrey
        Childcatcher

        Re: Truth in advertising

        Mom! TeeCee's been looking in my room again!!

      4. stiine Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Truth in advertising

        what disreputable hacker drinks coffee out of a styrofoam cup? you'd not have any flavour if it didn't get filled and emptied over and over for weeks at a time.

    3. Paul Crawford Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: Truth in advertising

      We already have an image for penetration testing =>

      1. GnuTzu Silver badge

        Re: Truth in advertising

        So, what's the one for creepy cyber-voyeurs, given that we now know that baby cams are known to have been hacked and exploited to watch nursing mothers? Wait, I not sure I want to see that one.

      2. OssianScotland Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Truth in advertising

        What, not Paris? I am shocked, shocked, I tell you....

      3. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Truth in advertising

        Perfect.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can they then look at other stock images?

    For instance the ones where everyone in a meeting is looking beautiful, happy, motivated and totally engaged. Not the sort of meetings I've ever seen.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Or those ones with two people stood at a desk (an asian woman and black man to mee the ethnicity / gender diversity quota for marketing images) in impeccably neat business attire, both pointing at a crayola-level pie chart on a 44" monitor.

      It's at the same level as pictures of women laughing whilst eating salad.

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

        Wow.

        That is pure nightmare fuel!

        1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
          Gimp

          Re: Wow.

          Hahaha... No....

          Now try searching for the term 'leatheroak'. If you have safe search on, boring... If not that's nightmare fuel (and is commonly used as a punishment for not locking your screen after leaving your desk in my office).

          1. Justin Case
            Unhappy

            Re: Wow.

            > Now try searching for the term 'leatheroak'.

            I did and all I got was pictures of trees and some furniture...

            1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
              Gimp

              Re: Wow.

              Balls... It appears the sites gone down.. Can't find it at all at the moment (small mercies I suppose)

            2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
              Gimp

              Re: Wow.

              Turns out I missed an 's'.... Try looking for leatheroak.

              You're welcome....

            3. stiine Silver badge
              Devil

              Re: Wow.

              So did I. I feel severly disappointed...knot that the trees didn't look gnarly.

    2. Tom Paine Silver badge

      And all under 30, apart from the one immaculate, bronzed, white-toothed guy with grey hair (never bald!) who looks like an American politician.

  9. MalIlluminated

    Let's see if I can come up with a few.

    Hidden away in a darkened cubicle in a generally disused portion of the office, there is a desk covered with empty cans of Red Bull, half-eaten pizza slices and their accompanying boxes. Alice, the friendly neighborhood BOFH, is comfortably stationed in her ergonomic gaming chair that she insisted was needed because she has "spinalitus." She busily slaughters opponents in CS Go without mercy, while disinterestedly reading the most recent entry on her excuse calendar to the unfortunate person on the other end of the phone.

    Bob, her colleague in the next building over, has come to rest face-first on his desk after imbibing too much cheap beer or cider over the lunch hour. He starts awake abruptly as his boss snaps at him, and we see his forehead in profile with several key-shaped imprints marred deep into it's surface. His screen is now filled with the obviously nefarious encrypted code-segment "hjukujiiiiihiiiiiiiiiiijjjjjjjjjjjjjkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk"...

    Two grown men slap ineffectually at each other after a heated argument over something. Perhaps it was about whether BeOS or OS2/Warp is the superior operating system, going by their t-shirts. Maybe they're arguing over whether Senjogahara Hitagi or Makise Kurisu is "best girl," judging by the plastic figurines festooning their bookshelves. Or perhaps one accidentally stepped on the other's freshly-painted Warhammer 40,000 Nemesis Dreadknight.

    A man stares at a screen for many hours, surrounded by other men and women who stare at their screens for many hours. The staring is interposed by occasional bursts of typing. Or maybe it's one guy alone at in a basement. Whatever. Very few people can understand what's on their computer screens at any given time, and nothing else happens, until the end of the day, when they get up and walk away.

    Hmm, I guess I do understand the mysterious hooded figure with zeros and ones pouring out. The reality is usually somewhat more opaque, and anything more dramatic is either a recipe for trouble or embarrassment.

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Let's see if I can come up with a few.

      That sound good. Will you be starting a regular BOFH-type column for us Reg readers?

      1. MalIlluminated

        Re: Let's see if I can come up with a few.

        There's already a good one. I started reading the reg because the BOFH came to live here. Although he hasn't tricked anyone into electrocuting themselves for awhile. I miss that.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Let's see if I can come up with a few.

      Let's just keep it simple. A picture of Snoopy because on the Internet no one knows you're a dog.

    3. Glen 1 Bronze badge

      Re: Let's see if I can come up with a few.

      Verity, is that you?

  10. Cuddles Silver badge

    The problem with stereotypes

    The trouble isn't so much that the media have fixated on a particular look for "hackers", but simply that it's human nature to try to fit people into stereotypes even when no such thing exists. Your typical hacker looks like a person with a computer. Any person of any size, colour, shape, and wearing any kind of clothes, while the computer would usually be anything from the last 10-15 years or so for subjects the general media tends to tackle, although obviously real hackers can also be found getting Doom to run on 1960s oscilloscopes or similar. There simply isn't a meaningful stereotype to have stock pictures of.

    But the thing is, that means there are already plenty of stock photos that actually represent hackers - literally any picture of someone using a computer would do the job. If you don't like it when people use pictures of people in hoodies, just use the pictures that don't have people in hoodies. Try to persuade others to do the same if you really feel strongly about it. We don't need some sort of concerted effort to come up with a new stereotype to replace the old one, because it wouldn't be any more useful or accurate. If you want the public to understand what hackers are really like, you need to use pictures of what they are really like. Just do a Google image search for "person with computer" and pick any one of the thousands of images that shows a normal person with a computer - in the first hundred or so results not a single one had a hoody. The problem is not that these pictures don't exist.

    1. wayne 8 Bronze badge

      Re: The problem with stereotypes

      But then they could not run a "contest" where they gather names and personal information for a undisclosed project.

  11. mptBrain

    Did you have to use up every last available stock image for this one article? What will poor Kristin use with her next article now?

    1. Phil Endecott Silver badge

      Stock images don’t get “used up”. Au contraire, the more times you use them the more their meaning is reinforced.

  12. juice Silver badge

    The problem is that the real world is boring...

    Hacking has long since moved away from kids in their bedrooms, or people digging whistles out of cereal boxes to phreak with.

    As with other industries such as video games, it's been commercialised, industrialised and is occasionally state sponsored.

    The "hackers" no longer sit in abandoned buildings surrounded by piles of empty pizza boxes and pop bottles, but instead work in from a desk in a brightly lit, air conditioned office sat in an anonymous industrial estate. And they probably have managers and quarterly performance reviews, to boot.

    To be fair, I'm generalising almost as much as the traditional "ev1l l33t h4ck3r" cliche.

    But as with so many other professions and activities (e.g. being a spy, or going on tour with a band), the truth is usually a lot more boring and banal than most people expect...

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      Re: The problem is that the real world is boring...

      As always, XKCD has been there...

      https://xkcd.com/2176/

  13. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Happy

    If a slightly overweight, balding middle-aged guy floats your boat, I'm the guy.

    And I can do with or without hoodies.

    The background is up to you.

    As long as I can get a free laptop out of this it'll be OK :)

  14. John 110
    Coat

    Optional title (was: I can't think of anything)

    I have a hoodie, but my daughter-in-law says that if I ever wear it with the hood up again, she'll leave, and take my grandchildren with her...

    (she said the same when I put my baseball cap on back-to-front...)

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      Re: Optional title (was: I can't think of anything)

      Try hoodie back-to front. Report results here.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Optional title (was: I can't think of anything)

      You live with your daughter in law?

      And why is taking the kids a bad thing? :)

  15. LordHighFixer

    Funny thing

    A few days ago I took a picture of my home office to show my co-workers (or cow orkers if you prefer). The almost universal comment was "that looks like one of those hacker dungeons you see in the movies "

    To be fair, it does look like a NOC done on the cheap.

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Funny thing

      That reminds me... I really need to clear my home office out. Meant to sell the old copies of white dwarf on the shelf, there's 7 different cpus I found (only 3 of which I remember buying) and enough spare sticks of ram to beat my current desktop system (seriously... Do sticks of ram breed if you leave them in forgotten corners?).

      And and the 5 laptops kicking around are starting to get in the way (only 3 work).

      No pizza boxes or empty drinks cans though. The wife would kill me if I left stuff like that lying around.

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: Funny thing

        seriously... Do sticks of ram breed if you leave them in forgotten corners?

        Well of course - but it's always the 64MB PC100 that breeds, never anything useful like 8GB DDR4 :)

        1. FozzyBear Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Funny thing

          It's obvious. the 64MB sticks have hit maturity. Given the nice dark secluded corner they have been going at it like randy teenagers. The DDR4's of course are still in their infancy, give them a few years and they'll be breeding like rabbits. Unfortunately this will be about the time DDR4 is looked at in the same way we look at 64 MB stick today.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Funny thing

      That's a good point really, pretty much everyone in IT uses at least two monitors if they can these days, and yet most 'normal' people think you're some kind of uber-leet haxor for having two screens.

      1. Any other name
        Windows

        Re: Funny thing

        ... pretty much everyone in IT uses at least two monitors if they can these days ...

        I find either 3 or 4 to be the optimum. Two in portrait orientation and either one or two in landscape.

        Possibly that's my way of compensating for the foibles of the late middle age: with my memory starting to go funny at the same time as the number of things I need to mind continues to increase, I usually have to keep multiple documents open and ready for reference. That works a lot nicer in portrait. On the other hand, writing code and debugging somehow feels more natural on a landscape screen. Mind you, they all need to be of the same pixel density on both axes - or things start to look seriously ugly.

        I guess to qualify for an über-hacker, I'll still need to mount them on individually-programmable motorized arms ...

      2. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: Funny thing

        I think that Sir Terry Pratchett's answer for why he had 6 monitors on his desk was that he didn't have room for 8.....

      3. OssianScotland Silver badge

        Re: Funny thing

        As any fule know, you always need two monitors - Work and Google*

        *other search engines are available

      4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Funny thing

        pretty much everyone in IT uses at least two monitors if they can these days

        Bah. I outgrew the multiple-monitor configuration in the mid-1990s.

        1. stiine Silver badge

          Re: Funny thing

          That only makes sense if you started using a projector and use your 3-meter wall as a screen.

  16. SoaG

    Trigglypuff

    with a patchy neck beard.

  17. Evil_Tom

    How about a Nigerian Prince... or is that from the wrong scam?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not use this picture: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/08/24/heeled_hacker_turns_wedges_into_concealed_pwn_weapons/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That one has my vote!

    2. RuffianXion

      Waste of effort

      She could have been carrying her hacking tools in a clear plastic bag and I wouldn't have noticed.

  19. Chris G Silver badge

    How about a nice photo of a smart young chap marching into MOD Corsham, ready to defend the realm's cyber security?

    Oh no I forgot, Crapita is unable to recruit anyone.

  20. David 18

    More importantly....

    I'd rather see replacements for the stock marketing images of be-suited, diverse, tie-less "professionals" smiling and pointing at a laptop in a glass-encased conference room.

    These seem to appear everywhere, in every context imaginable. I want to poke the eyes out of the phony, smug, gurning imbeciles. Has anyone ever attended an IT-type meeting like that?

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: More importantly....

      I raise you the happy, smiling call centre worker (with suitable stubble, natch) with no cord on his headset....

      No wonder he's smiling, the usele...... Oh is it time for my pills again?

      1. David 18

        Re: More importantly....

        Here, have one of mine. Dammit, I've run out....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: More importantly....

        Wireless headsets do exist. I loved to take a walk through the office while on support calls. The DECT base on my desk covered a large area.

        That flushing sound? No, no, that must be the coffee maker.

  21. Not Enough Coffee

    A photo that comes to mind is your WIFI-enabled dishwasher sipping a martini on a tropical beach with your bank account money piled next to it.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Makes me want

    to wear a hoodie more than ever. Think I will go buy a huge oversized one for traveling to defcon next week, BIG dark hoodie. Something Death would wear if he had pants.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about a cubicle farm, apparently stretching to infinity on all sides...

  24. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    We all *know* what the real image of a cybersecurity expert is: a picture of Rudy Giuliani, Cyber Tsar.

  25. Psmo Bronze badge
    Terminator

    Real metaphors for hacking

    Someone up to their hips in crap (having evidently just gone diving) holding a set of keys

    Well dressed businesswoman tailgating through a restricted access door

    Businessman grabbing a notebook off a desk looking knowingly at the camera

  26. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Intent is only half the crime, the other is opportunity.

    Perhaps time for the other side of the problem.

    Although a piccy of a cheap 'IT is just a cost, minimise it' laze faire attitude by management to securing customer data is harder to visualise.

  27. teknopaul Silver badge

    The behoodied one

    The hoody is a reference to Zuck who pwnd all you private data ten years ago.

    I think it should stay.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: The behoodied one

      The "hackers wear hoodies" image was a meme before Zchmuck graduated out of three-cornered pants.

  28. John Savard Silver badge

    Wrong Caption

    Cybersecurity professionals shouldn't be depicted that way. The hackers they're trying to protect people from, however, are effectively and recognizably depicted that way, even if it isn't really accurate.

  29. Do Not Fold Spindle Mutilate

    If a hacker spilled data onto the world wide ocean would it look like this?

    https://s270.photobucket.com/user/ltattrie/media/DeepWater_data_spill.jpg.html?sort=4&o=3

  30. Dave 32
    Coat

    Accessories

    Don't forget that the uber hacker would have a binary clock (And, yes, I have a binary clock, but I can't be bothered to set it, so all of the lights just flash in unison, sort of its way of the flashing 12:00.).

    Their machine would have to have lighted fans. And, of course, they'd have to have a couple of lighted muffin fans on the desk, too, to keep them cool (Forced air cooled processor; forced air cooled hacker.).

    A true uber hacker would have an information panel connected to their machine to relay critical information, regardless of whether that critical information is the time of day, the machine registers, or a sale ad for the pub down the road (And, yes, I hacked OS/2 to display the time of day on an IBM 9595's information panel display.).

    Headphones? No, of course not. Rather, multiple subwoofers mounted all around the operating position. You don't want to just hear the sound; you want to feel it.

    Come on, y'all. Help me out here. What other accessories would a uber hacker have?

    Dave

    P.S. I'll get my coat; It's the one with the punched cards in the pocket. Don't trip over that stack of magnetic tape reels, nor 14-inch drive platters.

  31. tekHedd

    Macbook Pro

    And it is always, ALWAYS a Macbook Pro, because that's what laptops look like. A hacker's burner laptop certainly wouldn't be a secondhand Dell from the pawn shop covered with Hello Kitty stickers. And, yes, that's my story for why this one is, yes, I'm a hacker, that's it.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seem to remember a BBC documentary from several years ago (probably at least 10 years ago I think) on cryptogtaphy and especially steganography and the director must have been over the moon when he discovered that an expert on the subject was a woman called, I think, Cypherella who combined cryptography with burlesque ans who seemed happy to explain cryptography while wearing the bare minimum amount of clothing requierd to meet BBC decency guidelines (certainly no hoodies in sight!) Probably wouldn't be considered to be a suitable image though today!

  33. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Hoodies are a symbol ...

    ... of an underworld or criminal figure with a need to conceal their identity. Odd, because any hacker worth their salt won't place themselves in a position where surveillance has any effect.

    Hoodies, or wool caps and parkas worn on 85°F days are a symbol of an individual who is frail*. So frail that they don't have a metabolism capable of maintaining proper body temperature under the mildest of conditions. Sort of the opposite of the above 'bad boy' image.

    *There is a school of thought that heavy pot use can adversely affect body temperature regulation. It' always seems to be the stoners that bundle up on even the warmer days.

  34. Long John Brass Silver badge

    Moderatrix?

    Inspired attire?

    Or how about a PHB being rectally investigated with a cattle prod after refusing the DMZ firewall upgrade?

    1. Psmo Bronze badge

      Re: Moderatrix?

      Or with a distressed expression while the hand above their head holds a folder?

  35. Cheshire Cat
    Black Helicopters

    I wear a hoodie

    Well -- I work in infosec, AND I regularly wear a hoodie (since I obtained a nice one from Kiwicon last year). So I guess I'm the only REAL hacker around here, then?

    Bet you all wish you had th3s3 l33t t0gs like wot I has.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shirley, if this is a "hacker" image...

    there would be some nefarious code hidden in the EXIF data.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Owwwlllff

    My plans to comment have been stymied as my tongue is stuck in my cheek.

  38. Buster

    An image can only do so much and if you want an image to create the context without referring to already established tropes and at stock prices good luck there. I am a photographer and when of the clock and talking to people in business they will ask why is there no business stock photography they can use which is UK style-specific I have to point out that the US has 50 odd markets plus Canada while the UK does not. In EU terms there are style differences which make that market difficult. The real issue is that if you want to have good stock you can use you need to pay for a shoot or create a market by paying what the US pay for good level stock. Most UK business who use stock images, paid or otherwise, tech sector as well, are transmitting to the world how cheap they are.

  39. no user left unlocked

    misdirection...

    Any crackers must be doubly happy with this.

    Not only are they being conflated with hackers but all those stock images bear no real resemblance to either group.

    You can get away with so much more when you don't fit the public persona the media generates.

    I was just looking at the definition of a hacker and hadn't realised just how far it has moved away from its origins. Apparently these days you can only be a hacker if you are using a computer, who knew?

  40. Alister Silver badge

    And not one of them is wearing the real thing:

    a Hacking Jacket

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Army Fatigues

    How about army fatigues?

  42. chuBb.

    Lol but it's true

    Bah once got a job based off the fact the client liked the fact I looked like a hacker from a film, hoody, baggy jeans, dreadlocks, piercings and multi coloured hair (from before time you could buy rainbow shades in tesco) , drunk 6 cups of coffee in the 45min meeting and pointed out the idea we were their to discuss would never work as intended

  43. martinusher Silver badge

    You might want to do something about the monitor as well

    I don't think I've ever seen a programmer working on a large monochrome monitor with just a green screen. The format was made popular by the Matrix but since that movie also made extensive use of acoustic couplers it could be said that it was obsolete 40 years ago, back when you'd be fortunate to have any kind of screen (so long as it was 80*25.....).

    Programmer depictions -- malware or no malware -- have always annoyed me. The pits was the fellow in Jurassic Park, his was a textbook case of how not to design a piece of software or manage a software project. (I know the movie was supposed to be about home made dinosaurs and the like but the plot only worked because of crap software methodology.)

  44. mark4155

    A number 1?

    The most important number you need in life is a Number 1 or a number 2 as I read this article on my shiny white porcelain toilet. Toodle Pip.

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