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Comment Free For All: Hacking in the Movies

Tags: , , , Date/Time: July 28, 2021 @ 12:00 am, by raindog308

Comment Free For AllI once watched an episode of Law & Order with a friend who is an attorney. From the moment the action switched from the police to the prosecutors, he was tied up in knots, shouting at the screen all the inaccuracies in the way the courtroom proceedings were portrayed.

I feel the same way about hacking and computer security in the movies.  In 1983’s “WarGames“, the US nuclear command is apparently connected to a modem anyone can dial.  In 1996’s “Independence Day“, an Apple laptop is used to upload a virus to an alien computer system (quite an engineering feat on the fly!).  And there’s a long litany of other movies where it’s not even possible to tell what the “hackers” are doing because the screen is filled with impossible jargon and pretty (but unrealistic) animation.

They’re not all bad.  For example, 1983’s “Superman III,” while an awful movie, did reuse a famous bit of hackery, where a programmer siphoned all rounded fractional cents to a central account he then withdrew.  And while the “Matrix Reloaded” (2003) was also awful, Trinity uses nmap and the screen references the real-world SSH CRC-32 vulnerability.

So up for discussion: what movie do you think portrays hacking most accurately…and which is the worst?

Please let us know in the comments below.  Don’t forget to tell us why – we’ll be posting a summary of the most interesting comments in a future post!

I'm Andrew, techno polymath and long-time LowEndTalk community Moderator. My technical interests include all things Unix, perl, python, shell scripting, and relational database systems. I enjoy writing technical articles here on LowEndBox to help people get more out of their VPSes.

2 Comments

  1. Xzenor:

    Mr. Robot.

    It’s the only time I’ve seen ‘actual’ hacking in a tv-show. All the others suck.

    July 28, 2021 @ 2:35 pm | Reply
  2. Yomero:

    Hey, long time no see you!

    I can’t talk about any particular movie, but for me it’s the Mr Robot series.

    I think it’s the most accurate production portraying this particular tech topic. Probably it goes somewhat far because the plot with some ideal scenarios to accomplish that hacks, but I think it’s worth to watch it.

    July 29, 2021 @ 11:04 pm | Reply

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