Neo: Trinity. The Trinity? That cracked the IRS d.base? Jesus.
Neo: I just thought, um... you were a guy.
Trinity: Most guys do.
The intelligence agencies are hot on the trail of a hacker who is breaking into servers and bringing down banks, shutting off traffic lights, accessing secret government files, and just generally causing mayhem.
They are given a list of possible suspects, all of whom happen to be geeky men who are Ph.D. students in computer science and tech gurus wearing hoodies and living in a monitor-filled Hacker Cave in an Abandoned Warehouse. After either narrowing down the list to one or two suspects or dismissing all the suspects completely, the hero or his sidekick stumbles into a startling revelation: the hacker is a woman.
In the minds of all officers of the law and FBI agents (even female ones), hackers are exclusively male, and having too much estrogen allays any suspicion you might have anything to do with computers or technology in general. When the truth is revealed, the notion that anybody previously thought a woman wasn't capable of such things is either tossed aside or even ignored altogether.
This trope only counts when everyone thinks it's male and it's later revealed the hacker is female. It is not a list of generalized female hackers.
This is a sub-trope of Samus Is a Girl and happens to be the techie sister of the Wrench Wench and Gamer Chick. Related to the common myth that There Are No Girls on the Internet, which the Hackette in question is likely exploiting.
Not to be confused with female hacks, a.k.a. crappy journalists.
- Bubblegum Crisis: Nene Romanova fills this role. It becomes a plot point when Nene uses her hardsuit to hack into the AD Police mainframe (unbeknownst to her fellow officers) to regain control of the building from a terrorist and his team of rogue boomers. While, at the same time, guiding the police chief's niece to safety via the intercom.
- Cowboy Bebop: Everyone thinks Radical Edward is a boy, even after meeting her. Imagine the shock when her father shows up and gives his "baby girl" a hug! Then again, her father also forgets that she's a girl.
- Lycoris Recoil: Kurumi, aka Walnut, uses a voice modulator and the fact that Walnut is a Legacy name (active for 30 years) to hide that the greatest hacker in the world is a girl.
- The Bad Guys (2022) has Webs, a female spider who’s the hacker of the eponymous group.
- In Cube 2: Hypercube, the superhacker Alex Trusk turns out to be Sasha. Her name is the Russian diminutive of Alexander/Alexandra.
- The Fast and the Furious - Furious 7 goes this route in all its implications with Ramsey, the hacker that needs to be rescued from a terrorist organization by Dom and crew.
- Hackers: Acid Burn is an alpha hacker so she has a coterie of boyhackers who think she is awesome, but Crash Override is surprised to discover she is a girl. Dade keeps trying to get her to go out with him, but she forces him to prove that he's a better hacker before she does. In the end, after their date, he finally tells her that she's elite. She tells him that this is all he had to do to get her to go out with him instead of trying to go the normal route.
- A non-gender version also happens when Lord Nikon learns that Dade used to be Zero Cool. He always thought that Zero Cool was black.
- The Matrix: When Neo first meets Trinity, he's surprised and a little embarrassed to learn that Trinity is female.
- In The History of the Galaxy books, cybreakers (hackers with multiple brain implants that allow them to hack with their minds) and mnemonics (essentially, "white hat" cybreakers) are just as likely to be women as men since they were originally trained by Mega Corps who kidnapped children of both sexes to implant and train them. However, as a rule, there are more female mnemonics than cybreakers.
- Lisbeth Salander from the Millennium Series uses this to help her hide from the police.note
- Felicity Smoak from Arrow is basically this trope personified. She is a wildly talented programmer who frequently shocks her colleagues and enemies with the fact that Oliver Queen's coding expert is a blonde woman with an impressive, feminine, fashion sense.
- An episode of Burn Notice featured a girl hacker. Not only was the fact that she was an attractive teenage girl a surprise, but she also turned out to be utterly vicious and cold-blooded, as evidenced when she drugs Michael and then ties him to a chair and rubber-bands a plastic bag over his head in an attempt to kill him via asphyxiation (luckily, Michael manages to talk his way out of it).
- Penelope Garcia from Criminal Minds is happy to surprise supervisors and people from other precincts with the fact she's a female.
- Penelope talking in Criminal Minds S1 E22: "The Information Superhighway is closed. Someone had the nerve to run a black-hat op into my computers, Morgan. They hacked me, okay? But you can bet your sweet ass that I will find them. I've got honeypot farms hidden behind UML kernel data packets and a first-generation honey net I personally programmed. My snort-log lists every visitor, every server request, every keystroke of this entire network. If I have to back-hack his IP all the way to the frickin' stone-age I will find this sonofabitch, K? So bye!"
- In CSI: Cyber, the infamous hacker, and Daniel's arch-nemesis, L0m1s turns out to be a teenage girl named Willa.
- In a story arc of Ghost Writer, the main characters' school falls victim to a hacker known by the moniker of "Max Mouse". Some girls are in the list of suspects from the beginning, but not until the suspect list is narrowed to just two people is it certain that the hacker is in fact a girl.
- Cameron Howe from Halt and Catch Fire. She is a hotshot computer wiz that drops out of school to work for Cardiff Electric on their PC. She writes the BIOS code and comes up with and develops the interactive OS idea. Gordon's wife Donna Clark, a programmer herself, once calls her code "elegant, like music". She lives up to her name in one episode, where she hacks into a bank and steals money for Cardiff Electric on John Bosworth's orders. He later takes the fall for it when the FBI raids Cardiff Electric. His lawyer pays his bail almost immediately, though.
- The Lone Gunmen has a female hacker whose real name was never revealed (on that show), but she went by Yves Adele Harlow most of the time. All her aliases were anagrams of Lee Harvey Oswald.
- New Tricks played this to the hilt twice within a few years.
- Root in Person of Interest. As a child, she was seen speedrunning 'The Oregon Trail' at a pace that turned the graphics into a blur, and as a mid-teen, she got revenge for her murdered friend by stealing from a drug cartel's bank accounts in the murderer's name. She was every bit Finch's equal, even tag-teaming with him when a hacking job required two people working simultaneously. She also worshiped the Machine, whom she referred to frequently as 'God'.
- In the Supernatural episode "The Girl with the Dungeons & Dragons Tattoo", the hacker that Dick Roman uses to crack a hard drive is Charlie Bradbury... a woman, and the titular "girl".
- Mac, whose real name is Cindy Mackenzie on Veronica Mars is a computer hacker who helps Veronica with mystery cases.
- Claudia, when she is hacking into the Warehouse in the first few episodes of Warehouse 13, is spoken of with male pronouns until they learn her identity.
- In White Collar episode "Taking Account", Peter arranges a meeting with a hacker known as Vulture. He tries scoping out the men in the area, but it's Mozzie who realizes the Vulture is a woman.
- The X-Files episode "Kill Switch" the agents are trying to track down a hacker with the handle "Invisigoth", who turns out to be a woman named Esther Nairn, fighting a rogue AI that killed her boyfriend.
- In the Shadowrun sourcebook "Paranormal Animals of North America" creature descriptions are discussed in comments made by shadowrunners and other more or less knowledgeable types. One of the more sensible and well-informed commenters is known as "Doc". Near the end of the book, Doc mentions being about to submit a description of a new species named (genus) amandae. Why "Amanda?" the other commenters cluelessly ask. Because that's my name, Doc replies. Apart from the unusual decision to use her first name instead of her surname to name the species, the commenters really oughtn't to have been that surprised, since female hackers/shadowrunners are common in the 2050 of the game, and a fair share of the previous commenters have very obviously been female.
- Futaba Sakura from Persona 5 is a teenage coding prodigy who goes by the alias "Alibaba" (and previously, "Medjed"). The Phantom Thieves initially assume Alibaba is male, but soon put two and two together and realise Alibaba and Futaba are the same person.
- Watch_Dogs has this with Clara Lille, the hacker acting as Mission Control to Aiden at the start of the game. Her alias "Badboy17" fools him into thinking she was male. It gets mentioned in their first face-to-face conversation, though surprisingly not by Aiden himself:
Aiden: You don't look 17.
Clara: Do I look like a bad boy?
- Penny from Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is an introverted genius hacker. To everyone's surprise, she is also Cassiopeia, the mysterious leader of the villain team.
- Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors: Inverted. Junpei initially thinks that Lotus is a belly dancer due to her figure and her clothing style (she is, but it's a hobby) but is quite shocked to discover that Lotus is a security consultant who had previously worked in Silicon Valley. He learns this when Lotus hacks a computer terminal rather than waste time solving a puzzle.
- Princess Lover!: Teppei is surprised to learn that his maid, Yuu Fujikura, heads an entire team of hackers (all maids, like herself). It even becomes a pivotal plot point, late in the series, when she spearheads a cyberspace counter-offensensive to regain control of the Arima Building from a group of terrorists, while simultaneously helping to disarm several remote detonated charges planted throughout the building.
- Miho from Megatokyo caused a massive crash of the Endgames MMORPG servers and asks Piro if he was surprised to learn the aforementioned hacker was a girl.