Hacker Attire

Hacker in balaclava and black sweater using laptop
Hacker hacking
I was taking some “security training” for work. When they referred to “hackers”, the training showed “hackers” dressed in dark clothes and balaclava’s. I had seen this with other web sites. Since it is on the web and pervasive, it must be they way hackers really dress. I wondered why so I e-mailed my son who has degree in computer science and often is well informed on technical topics.

His response:

Dad,
This is a carryover from the days before surface mount technology, when computer hacking required the use of a soldering iron.

The jumpsuit protected the “hacker’s” body from stray molten solder. The balaclava, which you’ll note covers the nose and mouth, protected the individual’s lungs from harmful fumes that can be released during soldering, including lead, arsenic, organobromides and resin acid particulates. Some of these gases can also cause contact dermatitis, a risk that is also abated by the jumpsuit.

Of course, modern-day hackers can simply exploit operating system design flaws to perform their work. The dress is now ceremonial, though its use is required in the EU (some laws are slow to change!)

Hope this helps…

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