back to article Miss Misery on hacking Mr Robot and the Missing Sense of Fun

Are you lolling dolefully? Then I'll continue. The TV show Mr. Robot deals with the life and adventures of Elliot Alderson, a twenty-something New York devop and cyber-vigilante. He and his circle of chums, seeking to inflict revenge on a mega-corporation for a hushed-up industrial accident, stumble towards bringing e- …

Seen some of the first season.

If nothing else it should be lauded for technical accuracy and restraining itself from the usual OVERRIDE SECRET PASSWORD nonsense.

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Re: Seen some of the first season.

And no mocked-up-for-cinema GUIs, of the type often seen in films to build tension by racing a progress bar against the bad guys breaking into the computer room.

There's also a fun bit where a rich executive is driven out of her automated home by people taking control of all the IoT gadgets within.

I enjoyed the first season, second season was a bit slow to get started, will watch the third season when it appears.

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Re: Seen some of the first season.

Technical accuracy???

who gets on a private plane to fly to a remote lights out DC and fiddle with some servers that are being hacked? if its that important either have remote kvm access, out of band access even if its by dial up, or have someone at the DC that can either turn something off or is skilled enough to stop the attack. Its cheaper and quicker than driving to an airport, getting on a private plane and then getting to the DC at the other side. even with dial up out of band i'd be able to sort a remote server or network device quicker than the drive to an airport from an office.

i struggled to watch the show as its full of other inaccuracies. never made it past (i think) episode 4.

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Re: Seen some of the first season.

The point was the data centre was so super secure that it had no outside remote access of any kind.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Seen some of the first season.

Having worked for Aviva back when it was called Norwich Union, I sometimes needed to access a server located in the "lights-out"* DC on the outskirts of Norwich. Remote access was set up so that you would be automatically logged out after 15 minutes. Unfortunately, NU's infrastructure was so shite at the time that 15 minutes was hardly enough time to log in and do more than issue two or three actions (i.e. move mouse, wait 30 seconds to see mouse finally moving close to where you wanted it to be on the remote screen, click mouse - go make a cuppa in the hope that it might have done something by the time you got back).

It was often far quicker in the long run to catch the regular private NU bus service between the city and the DC, and then make the changes in person.

* There were ALWAYS people in the DC - it was NEVER lights-out!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Seen some of the first season.

"who gets on a private plane to fly to a remote lights out DC and fiddle with some servers that are being hacked?"

Well, one of my relatives for one, though it's more usually a ticket handed over at the airport for a scheduled flight and a hire car arranged by $TLA, hotel where someone else pays the bill and a rather free hand with expenses. Such jobs do actually exist and are rather well paid as compensation for having no life beyond occasional hookups in hotels.

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Re: Seen some of the first season.

"The point was the data centre was so super secure that it had no outside remote access of any kind."

I think you're confusing the data center that was being attacked with the storage facility that stored Evil Corp's backups.

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Re: Seen some of the first season.

no outside remote access for the admins yet the hackers had complete remote control. The inference is that the systems where public facing, so we have a super secure DC that's open to the internet with no remote admin access requiring a techie to get on a plane and console into a system to access the cli and do stuff to it. if that was the scenario in the finance (PCI/DSS) or gov't (IL3) places i've worked in people would be fired and changes made. No remote admin access would fail the accreditation.

to the chap from Norwich, surely riding a bus across town is quicker than going to the airport and catching a flight?

re $TLA's i'm sure multiple redundant systems would ensure waiting for a tech to arrive was part of the plan but i'm also sure services where not left vulnerable to exploit awaiting a techie to fix something.

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Re: Seen some of the first season.

Technical accuracy ?!

You are kidding right ?

Please tell me you are kidding.

Sure, there are no "It's Unix. I know this" moments of clunkery, but to anyone who actually knows a thing or two about the tech world portrayed, the "technical accuracy" is only as accurate as the science technobabble in Star Trek.

It sure sounds sufficiently plausible to anyone who doesn't actually understand the words, but to anyone who does it's simply laughable.

Having said that, I am well aware that lawyers say the same thing about shows such as Boston Legal, Suits and The Good Wife, for example.

The principle difference between Mr Robot and those shows however is that those other shows feature sharply written dialog and compelling characters that you actually want to spend time with, together with the bonus of an occasional genuine plot surprise or well crafted (in the writing and the portrayal) emotional hit.

Unlike Mr Robot which leans relies on its trumped up so-called technical accuracy, characters and story lines clumsily and obviously drawn by committee to hit "edgy" and "social" hot buttons and tediously signposted "surprises" that leave you hoping until the last minute that the obvious "reveal" about to come isn't going to be as obvious as it looks and will hold some genuine revelation. But it doesn't.

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Re: Seen some of the first season.

"I think you're confusing the data center that was being attacked with the storage facility that stored Evil Corp's backups."

I think you are one of the people the joke icon was created for, sadly not used on this occasion.

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Coat

Re: Seen some of the first season.

Your relative's last name wouldn't be Snowden would it? Seems to fit in every other aspect.

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Re: Seen some of the first season.

who gets on a private plane to fly to a remote lights out DC and fiddle with some servers that are being hacked? if its that important either have remote kvm access, out of band access even if its by dial up, or have someone at the DC that can either turn something off or is skilled enough to stop the attack. Its cheaper and quicker than driving to an airport, getting on a private plane and then getting to the DC at the other side. even with dial up out of band i'd be able to sort a remote server or network device quicker than the drive to an airport from an office.

Uhm, you've clearly never dealt with remote hands, aten-based IPMI (which they all are and garbage and prone to failure) or general shit hitting the fan with critical hardware/software before on complicated issues. I've done everything but the private plane bit, and frankly in the show it wasn't clear if it was a private plane or chartered. When shit really hits the fan even true OOB management can and does fail - and is often a pain in the arse to arrange in cages, which this clearly was. Sometimes it really is just easier to show up and fix it.

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Re: Seen some of the first season.

They had a guy who was basically responsible for making the hacking look authentic. He did a talk at DefCon I believe - most of the 'onscreen' animation is recorded in flash because that's the easiest way to make it authentic - someone can tap away at a keyboard and the letters would appear at the right time, and never a typo in sight!

If you can find the talk it's really good to hear how 'respectful' of real hacking the directors and such were. Rather than being a case of them not listening to what would make sense and pass for 'real' they actually listened to genuine hackers for inputs. As such, there's even a few sneaky shout outs to various hacker groups and such in the series too.

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I've no intention of watching it. It can't possibly live up to Verity's review.

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Similarly I've never got around to reading the Holy Bible, as I suspect the Sons of Kahn don't feature as prominently as they do in the Good Book of Stob.

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I'd heard of this

But I thought it was about an actual robot. You could have flagged up this massive spoiler. It's been completely ruined for me now.

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Re: I'd heard of this

Well, we don't know for sure that it *isn't* about an actual robot, a la Westworld.

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Re: I'd heard of this

Great, now you've just spoiled Westworld for me!

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Re: I'd heard of this

Original or remake?

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Re: I'd heard of this

There's a remake?

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Re: I'd heard of this

Jesus, now you've spoiled the remake too. Enough!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'd heard of this

"I thought it was about an actual robot"

The original *was* about an actual robot. (#) Meanwhile, they didn't even bother including the robot factory in the TV version.

(#) Or did we all assume that this was the case and did the author secretly intend him to be a man in a convincing-looking robot suit fulfilling some deep-seated psychological need without telling us? Or is it more likely that no-one ever thought about characters developed solely to fulfil the premise of an early-80s video game all that deeply? We may never care...

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I have enjoyed it

Although I did get distracted a few times with more lightweight things such as Lucifer and The Grand Tour, I have finished the first two seasons of Mr Robot and have found it enjoyable.

Rami Malek plays an excellent hacker and Christian Slater is very good in his role too (I won't spoil). I found Angela's dour expressions a little bit annoying at times, and Darlene's brattish behaviour can be a little OTT at times, but in general is spot on.

Halfway through series 2 it does get a little weird, with one episode starting off as a flashback in the form of an 80's style US sitcom, whilst another episode features Angela, a girl and an old-school telephone..... but stick with it - it is worthit, although it can be a little hard to binge watch as it is very full on.

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Re: I have enjoyed it

As someone who's had a really out there experience (not due to drugs but tiredness - I walked home thinking I was in some real life game of CS to the point at which I was imagining seeing my ammo number in one corner of my vision), I can imagine the whole 80's sitcom thing actually happening to some body.

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Go

It's good but not great

I wouldn't want to put off these streaming media companies from creating their own content. They do seem a bit more accepting of risks with what they make.

Mr Robot a bit like a lot of these shows is pretty good but it's not great. I've watched the first series and have the second on a watchlist but it might be a while before I get to it.

I've felt the same about a few others that they have really great production values but I've just not found them compelling (Vikings, Walking Dead).

But I hope they keep trying becasue eventually they're going to make something as good as The Wire or Deadwood again.

I'm really enjoying The Expanse right now and I'm told Narcos and WestWorld are worth a watch too.

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Re: It's good but not great

Westworld is probably the best new sci-fi show in the last few years, only problem is the gap until 2018 for the next series.

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Re: It's good but not great

The Expanse and Westworld are very good. More modestly, I find Dark Matter and Killjoys to be cheap and cheerful galaxy-hopping fun - they both start to find their stride after the first few episodes, and really get into the swing of things in their second seasons.

Whilst lots of episodes in the first season of Person of Interest are redundant ('investigation of the week'), season two and beyond is superb.

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Re: It's good but not great

"I'm really enjoying The Expanse right now"

I enjoyed that too although it only seems to cover the first half of the first book and I'm not sure they're making anymore :(

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Re: It's good but not great

The Netflix take on Dirk Gently was a whole lot of fun as well - whimsical and odd but also full of twists and making something reasonably coherent from the ideas in the books. Definitely worth watching.

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Re: It's good but not great

"The Expanse" is going through season 2 right now and a quick Google search says it's been renewed for a third season.

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Boffin

Re: It's good but not great

only problem

Well, that, and the Guns.

The way the guns work so flawlessly even when in the flaky hands of drunks and morons or drunk morons will need an unbreakable Command, Control and Communication system with almost to Planck-scale precision and resolution.

But, this cannot exist given the amount of unchecked skulduggery and shenanigans that drives the story.

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Happy

Re: It's good but not great

Season 2 of The Expanse is currently airing on SyFy in the US.

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Anonymous Coward

'It became harder to watch as each episode passed.'

Felt the same way and so never made it to Season 2.

Pity! But Vikings + Black Sails etc just offered more...

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Anonymous Coward

In my opinion it's one of the most original tv show for a long time. These days and I'm not complaining it's usually a comic book adaption or the same actors playing the same sort of characters in different settings.

It is hard to watch but that's down to the excellent screenwriting where it lulls you into thinking one thing and then throws you a curve ball and to top that off you try and anticipate in season two where it's going to go only to find yourself wrong yet again.

My only concern is that like a lot of other tv shows I don't think it will have a conclusion worthy of the series as a whole, in fact I don't think they know where it will end as I don't think they thought it would be a success.

All that said I don't think it's for everyone, it takes a bit of investment from the viewer unlike a lot of other good shows where you just watch and enjoy.

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> My only concern is that like a lot of other tv shows I don't think it will have a conclusion worthy of the series as a whole,

The creator of Mr Robot says he always envisioned the show as a three-act play, so hopefully the conclusion won't come across as having been made up on the fly.

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"remember I did warn you to shell out an extra 50 pee for the proper paperbacks"

It's not the cost that drives me to buy ebooks, it's the lack of storage space for physical books :(

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I feel and share your pain

Once books started moving to stacks on the window-sills the missus put her foot down.

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Coat

Re: I feel and share your pain

Then you still had books on the windowsills but you were going a lot faster.

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Re: I feel and share your pain

You must miss her terribly...

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And this is why they invented Dropbox (etc). That's where my book stash lives, as well as about three actual devices.

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Re: I feel and share your pain

If there was room for your missus to put her foot down somewhere, you clearly don't have enough books.

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For fans of the random stuff that Channel 4 put on on All4, I recommend 'Heartless' - a tale of pouty bisexual Danish energy vampires (and witches, obviously). A very gothic high-school, ancient curses, people bursting into flames, it has everything you could want and more. It follows the US mode of having good looking 20-something actors as high school students.

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You had me at "bisexual Danish energy vampires"...

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I'm amazed

Dear Stob,

You need a holiday and some good books as a an antidote to this drek.

Yours,

A Fan

P.S. Don't stay in that place in North Antrim (or was it Derry) that you were before, somewhere less gloomy like Galway.

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Windows

I'll concede the UIs on screen.

(I've used those UIs. They were current at filming, I was impressed)

But, no, thanks Mr Robot. I have an angsty 20 something living in house, and I was given one as a second for a few months. I will happily wait for more Anthony Hopkins. Now, if only 'flix will cough up more Black Mirror. (*love* those).

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Episode numbering

> season 1 episode 4 "Exploits" is called eps1.4_3xpl0its.wmv.

Ha, no, that's episode 5. They're numbered from zero. :-)

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Re: Episode numbering

Also... WMV files...?

Nobody uses WMV, do they...???

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Re: Episode numbering

Obviously, flac or ogg, but .wmv are very light files.

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Re: Episode numbering

Different episodes have different extensions, like they've been torrented from different sources rather than someone ripping their own content.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Episode numbering

Also, a title that might sound actually plausible (without actually trying to locate a real one) would be something like Mr.Robot.2015.S01E04.3xpl0its.WEB-DL.x264.AAC.FoV...

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