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From the massive release of private celebrity photos (which the internet dubbed “The Fappening”) to the North Korean Sony attacks, 2014 was a year of notable “hacking” activity. Events like these have created a call to action for increased security measures across the board, especially as data protection continues to become a national interest.
But who are the people behind this activity? How old are they? What do they look like? Often times these individuals are portrayed as shadowy figures hiding behind the cloak of an obscure username (as that is the only information known about them)… but every now and again… one of these “black hats” is caught or comes forward. This gives the public a snapshot of the demographics comprising the hacker community.
We wanted to take things even further, so we made a composite image of 50 notorious hackers. This portrait would be data security’s worst nightmare.
Several of the individuals that comprise the above image are affiliated with the group “Anonymous,” which is a loosely associated international network of “hacktivists.” Anonymous has no real command structure and is largely a collective of ideas. Nonetheless, it has been associated with several DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks on high profile government, corporate, and religious targets. Their unofficial mascot is the image of Guy Fawkes (seen in the header graphic).
A major component of Anonymous would be the smaller groups that comprise it. These groups are much more directed in their thoughts, ideology, and actions, which also makes them much more “dangerous.”
One such group would be an organization called LulzSec, which was comprised of seven core members and several high profile associates. LulzSec was responsible for successful attacks on Fox, Sony, and even the CIA, and an unsuccessful attack on the media streaming giant Netflix.
After their leader, Hector Mansegur (also known as “Sabu”), was caught by authorities, Mansegur gave up information which led to the capture of the other core members. Using their pictures, we were able to construct a composite image of LulzSec
After researching these different hacking groups, we came to realize there were very few women mentioned. There had to be some notable female hackers in this underground community, and after some searching, we weren’t disappointed.
While men still dominate the hacking culture, women are definitely starting to get gain more notoriety within the tech world, and this crosses over into the various hacker communities. We found several high profile, code breaking women and made a composite image of them as well.
Overall, this project provided some intriguing insights into hacker demographics. In addition, it finally assigned a face to all those chaos causing usernames.
See the full infographic below.
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