The state of cybersecurity imagery is, in a word, abysmal. A simple Google Image search for the term proves the point: It’s all white men in hoodies hovering menacingly over keyboards, green “Matrix”-style 1s and 0s, glowing locks and server racks, or some random combination of those elements—sometimes the hoodie-clad men even wear burglar masks. Each of these images fails to convey anything about either the importance or the complexity of the topic—or the huge stakes for governments, industry and ordinary people alike inherent in topics like encryption, surveillance and cyber conflict. […]
This dearth of quality cyber imagery is a problem because it’s hard to wrap your head around something you can’t visualize. For too many people, the stereotypical hackers and hackneyed “computer” iconography the term “cybersecurity” conjures up are indicative of the blank space where greater understanding needs to be. The lack of visual storytelling language is not that surprising given the immaturity of the cyber policy field and its multidisciplinary nature. That is—the combination of technical, legal, policy, business and other dimensions of cybersecurity—makes a nuanced and sophisticated conversation difficult, whether communicating with words or pictures.
Amen! I’m pleased my employer largely ditched the cliché imagery in our materials and marketing. But there is still so much garbage out there.
I’m particularly pleased and surprised by this, again in the same article, which I recommend you read:
The Cyber Visuals Challenge launching today will help begin to answer those questions. Whatever the answers to them, we’re confident that the visual creators who take part will give us all something to think about and help move the state of cyber imagery beyond the tired hackers-in-hoodies visual clichés that fill stock image libraries today.