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Hackers On Tap!

Technically speaking, beer is a solution...

Photo of Melville Charran

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Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)

“Hackers On Tap” is a vector based concept made to look like an unfinished hand sketch with added dimension and line clarity. Grayscale was my preferred color scheme given the short delivery time but I would like to add more depth, color, and textures eventually. The characters are based on friends and colleagues who have professional or personal interests in hacking. They each hold common devices from the hacker arsenal like a Wifi Pineapple, Cracking Rig, and Linux laptop. The concept itself is based on beer tap handles for craft beer. Similar to craft beer, hackers come in many flavors! This entry is aimed at the “Hackers and Hacking” focus area and so I emphasized the diversity of the group, varying real-world technologies, and personal motivations – conveying these items in visual form without exploiting stereotypes was definitely a challenge.

What have you learned through this sketching process? (1,000 characters)

During this process, I interviewed fellow cybersecurity professionals about representation in media. I found that the stereotypical “European-American male reading binary in the dark” or “Russian/Chinese hacker” visuals not only downplay the severity of cybersecurity risk but also affects the people who fit the profile. Chinese, Russian, Ukrainian, and Korean professionals applying for security related positions or contracts feel unfairly scrutinized. Female colleagues note that the current stereotype implies that women are incapable of computer related tasks. Similar to the recent diversification of emoticons, which now include people of different color and religious beliefs, cybersecurity related stock images need to grow and become more inclusive.

Tell us more about you. (1,000 characters)

I am a professional healthcare cybersecurity analyst who works and lives in Atlanta, GA. Career related experience includes Python development, healthcare legal/security/privacy compliance (HIPAA /ISO /SOC /HITRUST), and vendor security risk management. Outside of the office, I enjoy hiking/fishing/camping in the north Georgia mountains and flexing my creative muscles with graphic design and audio production. I find inspiration for my graphics/music within early sci-fi novels such as Neuromancer, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep, and The Forever War.

Why are you participating in this Challenge? (750 characters)

Within my field of work, there is occasionally a need to present information to people who would have difficulty interpreting data on their own or without tools. An effective presentation should include relevant and impactful visuals to help users digest the information and recall it at a later time. Through my own research, I found it difficult to locate useful graphics with these qualities. I am participating in this challenge not only to share relevant/impactful visuals for others to use but also to showcase a different side of cybersecurity than what is portrayed. The “European-American guy in a dark room on a laptop” visual does not accurately depict our multicultural society or the diversity of technology today.


What is your experience with the field of cybersecurity?

  • I have considerable experience and/or knowledge in the cybersecurity field.

What best describes you?

  • I’m a cybersecurity professional with an interest in visuals.

How did you hear about this OpenIDEO Challenge?

  • In the news

Location: City


Location: State / District


Location: Country

  • United States of America


Join the conversation:

Photo of Viviane

‘hackers on tap’ say to me ‘hackers for hire’ (meaning of the phrase ‘on tap’ = readily available). Agree the metaphor is not obvious. Chess game sounds interesting (Pro: it may also communicate the point that hacking is done by groups, not necessarily just 1 person/pawn; strategic aspect of chess can relate to hacking. Con: leads people to think of hacking as black/white good/evil without the greys in between.)

If your point is “hackers come in many flavors”, you can apply this thought to many areas, not just beer. For example, can you relate traits in different types of hackers to, say, different breeds of dogs? Trying to imagine similar characteristics in a different form could be quite humours and help avoid certain stereotypes (eg. race, gender).

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