Earlier today, this was making the rounds on twitter:
It’s a cute-looking manga-style comic about team Sapheads’ experiences with the “Binary 300″ challenge in the Defcon 17 CTF pre-quals. It’s kind of entertaining, and looks informative, if a bit engrish-y. I scrolled through it quickly, bookmarked it, and planned to give it a good read later.
At first glance, I especially liked that there was a female character on the team, which I thought could be a very positive thing. That is, until I saw this making the rounds on twitter later today:
…the above is a discussion of the “Tiffany” character in the comic strip, who turns out to be a ridiculously stereotypical depiction of how some view women and computer security research. Not only is “Tiffany” an offensive stereotype, she’s a terribly one-dimensional and annoying character, only serving as a foil. She asks questions about what’s going on to give the other characters a chance to go into detail, acts all confused, and that’s about it. I suppose the other characters are just too l33t to be able ask those questions of each other.
As far as I can tell from the original Binary 300 write-up and anything else I can find out about the Sapheads, the comic’s characters aren’t based on their actual team line-up.
The author of the Female Stereotypes post also relates her own experiences of how she’s treated as a female in security research, and it’s very eye opening. I highly recommend reading it, as well as the original PDF writeup of the Sapheads attempt at this challenge.
Edit: The author/artist of the comic updated the page to apologize and explain. In future comics on other challenges, the “Tiffany” character will serve a more useful role than “cheer-leader”. It turns out that there is no female member of the Sapheads team, and that the character is based on a famous Korean singer.