All photos: Shutterstock and Reuters.
Problem: Until they're captured, alleged hackers don't make for stories with good art. But readers won't look at words unless they are immediately adjacent to pictures. Solution: stock art! I am delighted to report that there is an abundance of stock art geared toward illustrating news stories about cybercrime.
If you're in a hurry, the traditional standby for stories about hacking is a picture of hands typing on a keyboard. Since you won't have a relevant caption to go with it, stuff in some engaging statistics about the prevalence of hacking and software piracy.
The best way to protect a computer from network intrusion is to wrap it in chains and place a physical lock on it.
Particularly advanced computers are provided with a "security" key to offer immediate protection from hackers.
When cybercriminals break into and transfer money out of their victims' accounts, it immediately materializes on their computers in the form of fresh, unmarked bank notes and prepaid debit cards.
Adept cybercriminals can type with their shadows.
Stories speculating about the technical flaws that permit cybercrime may be illustrated by pictures of stethoscopes being used to inspect computer hardware. Some keyboards can accomodate money and a stethoscope.
Hackers can reach through the internet like it's some kind of fucking seance.
Many hacking stories can be illustrated by a photo of a website at an unusual angle. Suggest tragedy with error messages.
By making the angle more oblique and by tightening the depth of field, one can illustrate the mindboggling level of criminal genius at which all hackers operate. Photo: Reuters / Jim Bourg
THE CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS
Dwarfing passers-by, Sony Corporation's skyscraper is seen here from an intimidating perspective to reveal the victim's immense size and importance, thereby illustrating the newsworthiness of the hacker's criminal achievements. Photo: Toru Hanai / Reuters
THE HACKER AND HIS VICTIM
Hackers type while wearing thick leather burglar gloves, to ensure that no fingerprints are left on their own computers.
This man is bathed in the glow of the monitor. Is he a hacker or a victim? Like cartoon dragons, the color of the glow is semiotically significant. White light, resulting in natural tones, is for victims and security experts.
Blue-bathed hackers are thieves. Green-tinted hackers are exploring The Matrix. Red glows are for evil hackers, especially cyber-bullies. The rarest and most prized breed of hacker is one whose compexion is so gaunt that his face provides specular reflections of whatever is on screen, like a mirror.
Hackers come in two basic varieties: Ninja and Hoodlum.
A business suit and balaclava are mandatory for the successful execution of corporate-level cybercrime.
THE CHINESE CYBERCAFE
State intelligence agents forcing their way into the Pentagon or Lockheed Martin are often to be found working in public cafes in Shenzhen and Hong Kong. They're easy to spot, however, because they use full-screen images of the PRC flag as screensavers. Reuters / Kin Cheung
If all else fails, just run a picture of some binary emanating from an eye or zoomy matrix text.