Remember that competition for non-hoodie hacker pics? Here's their best entries

And we invite you to grab your easel and brush


A competition to produce stock pictures of infosec that does not involve hoodies or waterfalls of 0s and 1s has yielded a mixed bag of images to illustrate the industry's digital doings for the world's consumption.

Open Ideo, an American graphic design biz, ran an event co-sponsored by the Hewlett Foundation aimed at developing new imagery for infosec news. Rather than filling image slots with stereotypical pics of the type you all love to hate, they were hoping to get something a bit more inspiring and uplifting.

A few are good. But some of the published submissions look more like corporate report covers than something we'd elevate to the hallowed homepage of El Reg. Tellingly, only one journalist sat on the six-strong panel of judges.

As we wrote a couple of months ago when it launched, the competition – titled "How might we reimagine a more compelling and relatable visual language for cybersecurity?" – was intended to stimulate visual and pictorial folk into coming up with something to replace pictures of Justin Trudeau outdated stereotypes that are nonetheless firmly entrenched in the news media's collective mind.

hacker

As Open Ideo told us in August, up to 25 shortlisted contributors were to be mentored by an infosec wizard and given $500 each. And five more "non-hoodie artists" were to be given $7,000 each.

Among the five winners was one Abraham Joel Pena Puleo, among whose submissions was an image about... well, have a guess.

Unfortunately his image is not very useful for news purposes because it's in portrait and not landscape format – but some judicious cropping, as seen on the organiser's own website, might make it pass muster.

Fellow winner Afsal CMK's batch of entries focusing on everyday uses of encryption had one simple and direct image that stuck out to your correspondent:

Afsal CMK's entry for the Ideo Cybersecurity Visuals Challenge

What's going on here? Clear to us, anyway

We at El Reg are fans of shortlisted ex-infosec bod Jason Kravitz's idea, which in his words shows "a series of unlikely or unexpected 'hackers' with a sticker proclaiming that their other computer is your device".

Jason Kravitz's entry for the Ideo Cybersecurity Visuals Challenge

Neat. We like this

Meanwhile, at least some of the entries submitted for what was billed as a competition to find new illustrative images for news organisations, charities and the like to illustrate security concepts seemed distinctly wide of the mark to us:

Caroline Matthews' entry for the Ideo Cybersecurity Visuals Challenge

Caroline Matthews' entry. Click to enlarge

And an entry from Mai Arollado looked strangely familiar...

Mai Arollado's entry for the Ideo Cybersecurity Visuals Challenge

Mai Arollado's entry, depicting giant feet about to tread on a cyber landmine

Giant foot, you say?

Monty Python foot UHDTV

You can read full details of the competition's entrants and see their submissions on the Ideo website.

It seems that infosec is quite a hard concept to illustrate once you look past the hoodie-hacker stereotype. It would be too easy to sit here and poke fun at people who actually had a go at it in good faith, so we throw the obvious challenge open to you, good Reg readers.

What would you devise to illustrate the concept of infosec, given the chance? ®

Similar topics

Broader topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Verizon: Ransomware sees biggest jump in five years
    We're only here for DBIRs

    The cybersecurity landscape continues to expand and evolve rapidly, fueled in large part by the cat-and-mouse game between miscreants trying to get into corporate IT environments and those hired by enterprises and security vendors to keep them out.

    Despite all that, Verizon's annual security breach report is again showing that there are constants in the field, including that ransomware continues to be a fast-growing threat and that the "human element" still plays a central role in most security breaches, whether it's through social engineering, bad decisions, or similar.

    According to the US carrier's 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) released this week [PDF], ransomware accounted for 25 percent of the observed security incidents that occurred between November 1, 2020, and October 31, 2021, and was present in 70 percent of all malware infections. Ransomware outbreaks increased 13 percent year-over-year, a larger increase than the previous five years combined.

    Continue reading
  • Slack-for-engineers Mattermost on open source and data sovereignty
    Control and access are becoming a hot button for orgs

    Interview "It's our data, it's our intellectual property. Being able to migrate it out those systems is near impossible... It was a real frustration for us."

    These were the words of communication and collaboration platform Mattermost's founder and CTO, Corey Hulen, speaking to The Register about open source, sovereignty and audio bridges.

    "Some of the history of Mattermost is exactly that problem," says Hulen of the issue of closed source software. "We were using proprietary tools – we were not a collaboration platform before, we were a games company before – [and] we were extremely frustrated because we couldn't get our intellectual property out of those systems..."

    Continue reading
  • UK government having hard time complying with its own IR35 tax rules
    This shouldn't come as much of a surprise if you've been reading the headlines at all

    Government departments are guilty of high levels of non-compliance with the UK's off-payroll tax regime, according to a report by MPs.

    Difficulties meeting the IR35 rules, which apply to many IT contractors, in central government reflect poor implementation by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and other government bodies, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said.

    "Central government is spending hundreds of millions of pounds to cover tax owed for individuals wrongly assessed as self-employed. Government departments and agencies owed, or expected to owe, HMRC £263 million in 2020–21 due to incorrect administration of the rules," the report said.

    Continue reading
  • Internet went offline in Pakistan as protestors marched for ousted prime minister
    Two hour outage 'consistent with an intentional disruption to service' said NetBlocks

    Internet interruption-watcher NetBlocks has reported internet outages across Pakistan on Wednesday, perhaps timed to coincide with large public protests over the ousting of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

    The watchdog organisation asserted that outages started after 5:00PM and lasted for about two hours. NetBlocks referred to them as “consistent with an intentional disruption to service.”

    Continue reading
  • Suspected phishing email crime boss cuffed in Nigeria
    Interpol, cops swoop with intel from cybersecurity bods

    Interpol and cops in Africa have arrested a Nigerian man suspected of running a multi-continent cybercrime ring that specialized in phishing emails targeting businesses.

    His alleged operation was responsible for so-called business email compromise (BEC), a mix of fraud and social engineering in which staff at targeted companies are hoodwinked into, for example, wiring funds to scammers or sending out sensitive information. This can be done by sending messages that impersonate executives or suppliers, with instructions on where to send payments or data, sometimes by breaking into an employee's work email account to do so.

    The 37-year-old's detention is part of a year-long, counter-BEC initiative code-named Operation Delilah that involved international law enforcement, and started with intelligence from cybersecurity companies Group-IB, Palo Alto Networks Unit 42, and Trend Micro.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022