And Now, A Bunch Of Terrible Stock Photos Of Computer Hackers


POP QUIZ, HOT SHOT: What’s the most reliably funny thing on the internet?

Did you say “stock photos of computer hackers”? Well, I hope you did, because otherwise you are wrong. I mean, probably. I don’t know. It’s not like I’ve seen the whole entire internet. I suppose it’s reasonable to assume I missed something funnier. And I also forget a lot of stuff, so maybe I’ve actually seen one thing or many things funnier than stock photos of computer hackers. Like I’m just now remember the shoe roast. The shoe roast is probably funnier. But still.

This is already going off the rails. But do you know what can bring it back? I’ll tell you: stock photos of computer hackers! They really are kind of incredible. Sometimes when I’m bored or bummed out I’ll just open up Shutterstock and flip through 20-25 pages of them, cackling like a maniac the entire time. So, because you either need a pick me up now or will need one at some point in the future, I’m going to share some of my favorites with you. There will be a surprising amount of spandex. Consider that your warning.

And away we go…

So, yes, please note the fact that there is a man in a black-and-white checkered spandex suit sitting at a desk and cocking his head at the camera. And also note the Terminator-style readout on the image that zeroes in on his head and identifies him as a “hacker,” a “thief,” and a “spy.” And definitely note how funny it is that whatever program did that identified him as those things as though that’s the most logical explanation for what and/or who that person is.

But more importantly, think about everything that had to happen before the camera captured this image. Let’s tick off just a few of the steps:

  • Someone had to request a picture of a hacker
  • Someone had to think, “Hmm, how can I depict a hacker in a way that everyone will understand?”
  • That person had to come up with this idea
  • No one was able to talk him or her out of it
  • Someone purchased or rented a full-body chess board spandex suit
  • Someone showed up on set and was informed that he had to put on the full-body chess board spandex suit
  • No one was able to talk him out of it
  • Everyone involved let this happen

When you think about it that way, this picture is practically a miracle.

There’s really nothing I can or should add to this one, other than to maybe say that it’s funny to picture this woman shouting “TELL ME YOUR PASSWORD, YOU GODFORSAKEN MACHINE,” and that it’s also funnier to pretend that happened after 5-10 minutes of her attempting to interrogate it verbally first.

No, I take that back. The picture is better with no input from me. Forget I said anything.

Let’s skip over the thing where someone is attempting to hack into a computer by opening the screen with a key because the “the files are in the computer joke” has been done many times, most notably by Zoolander, and anything I try to add will make me the other kind of hack. Instead, let’s just take this at face value. Let’s accept that it’s a real thing that is happening. Okay, good. NOTHING IS THE SAME SIZE, PROPORTIONALLY. There are at least three options here, and I’m not sure which is more fascinating:

1) The laptop is normal sized, the key is huge, and the hacker is tiny
2) The hacker is normal-sized, the laptop is huge, and the key is REALLY HUGE
3) The key is normal-sized, the laptop is tiny, and the hacker is REALLY TINY

I’m leaning toward the second, only because, like, why would anyone build a laptop that big in the first place? You couldn’t take it anywhere. And even if you’re just using it at home, typing would take forever because you’d have to jump around from key to key like the most boring game of Dance Dance Revolution ever. Imagine trying to type the word “oceanographer.” You’d get exhausted!

Something you may have noticed so far is that a lot of stock photos of hackers feature people wearing ski masks. I’m guessing this is to try to convey that they are up to no good, or to equate them with other kinds of thieves, like bank robbers. But it is still really funny to think about someone getting ready for a busy day of hacking in their apartment and putting on a ski mask right before they sit down.

Anyway, I like this guy. No clue what he’s doing. My best guess is that he’s taking a selfie to use as his avatar in his anarchist Dark Web chat room.

Hacking is bad but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to live in a world where a set of quadruplets who look like Hank from Breaking Bad attempt to bring down capitalism by huddling around one laptop with a skull and crossbones decal stuck on it. That, I think, maybe, probably, would make it all okay with me.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Your Honor, the defendant is accused of being the head of an international hacking collective that was responsible for breaching the private databases of both the IRS and multiple credit card companies, leading to a widespread financial panic that this nation still has not fully recovered from.

JUDGE: Noted. How does the defendant plead?

DEFENSE ATTORNEY: My client pleads adorable, Your Honor.

Well, this is awkward. It appears I have accidentally uploaded a photo of me in the moments after ripping off yet another A+ fire tweet. Not sure how that happened.


Okay, I have 10 questions:

Why does Shutterstock think hackers wear full-length spandex suits?

If he is concerned enough about secrecy to put on a full-length black spandex suit, why is he hacking in front of a window in broad daylight?

What would you do if you looked in from the office facing this one and saw… whatever is happening here?

Why is this guy wearing a hat on top of his suit?

Where are his shoes?

Doesn’t he seem a little too comfortable?

Is… is this his office?

Does he work for an evil syndicate that has a stunning glass-walled headquarters?

If you ran an evil syndicate, wouldn’t you build your headquarters underground or somewhere else hidden from peeping eyes?

Like, inside a volcano?

I would.

The official caption for this one is “Man in hoodie shirt is hacker,” which, fine, but a more accurate caption would probably be “How a CBS crime drama thinks a touchscreen works.”

TREVOR, THE HEAD OF THE HACKING SYNDICATE: Ah, good, you’re back. How did the hack go?

CARL, THE NEW GUY: Great. I got the keyboard.


CARL, THE NEW GUY: I got the keyboard.


CARL, THE NEW GUY: You said to go in there and cripple his system. Well, I’d like to see him try to get anything done without a keyboard.

TREVOR, THE HEAD OF THE HACKING SYNDICATE: You idiot. I meant to cripple it with our code. He can just go buy another keyboard!

CARL, THE NEW GUY: Ahhh. I see what happened here. Classic misunderstanding.


The thing about this one is that the guy isn’t so much “hacking” as he is “kind of creeping around behind some lady and peeking at her screen.” I get that this a metaphor. I do. But it’s also funny to imagine someone just walking around a Starbucks and doing this to people as they sip their lattes.

Laugh if you want, but all I see here is a dedicated worker (staying until almost 6 p.m.) with a strong commitment to professionalism (wearing a shirt and tie instead of the more casual latex bodysuits his peers wear) and attention to detail (magnifying glass). He’ll be promoted to middle management before you know it.

Actually, this one seems pretty accurate.