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‘VanitySec’ Is Where Hackers Get Fashion Tips

The new website that gets working in InfoSec doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish.

Louise Matsakis

Louise Matsakis

Image: VanitySec

Want a purse for fall that can also conceal an RFID reader? Looking for hand warmers to keep your digits toasty while you debug some code? VanitySec, a new blog created by a group of fashionable information security (infosec) professionals, has got you covered.

The site emerged from a Twitter group chat between a dozen or so women working in infosec. "Last week we started spitballing ideas for blog posts, half joking, but Amanda (@malwareunicorn) opened the Wordpress and made us contributors...so here we are," @mzbat, one of the site's writers, told me over Twitter DM.

"I guess it started as a Twitter dm with some awesome people and we exchanged makeup and fashion tips (new brands/products) which I love," @_sn0ww, another contributor, told me.

VanitySec already has a handful of posts, a dedicated Twitter account, and a number of contributors with more articles in the works.

"It started as a joke. I wanted to make a parody Vogue cover just for infosec jokes...after chatting with some of the other ladies, we came up with a bunch of article ideas," @malwareunicorn, the site's founder, said over Twitter DM.

Though it started in jest, VanitySec is filling a legitimate need in a male-dominated field. It's hard to find out what to wear in a cold tech office, or when you're going to speak at a security conference, when you identify as female. VanitySec is a place to spread information about clothes, makeup, and hairstyles suited for security work.

It also could help make groups that are often unrepresented in the profession feel more like they belong.

Read More: Female Hackers Still Face Harassment at Conferences

While reactions to the site have been overwhelmingly positive, @mzbat mentioned that a few men have also complained that the site has featured only women's clothing so far. But she doesn't see it as non-inclusive (plus, the site plans to add a masculine section).

"I think, if anything it's a way to help marginalized folks (women, trans, fem) feel welcome in our community," @mzbat told me. "At least that's our hope. Like it's ok to not be masculine in tech."