back to article Hollywood vs hackers: Vulture cracks Tinseltown keyboard cornballs

A lot of exciting things are happening online right now. Eye-boggling blocks of code are presently being distilled into art, pornography and weapons of war, and making that distillation look exciting on film would be a challenge for film-makers who thoroughly understood the world of IT. And, if we’ve learned anything from the …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Sorry to be pedantic about this (actually I'm not) but it wasn't iCloud, it was a sync program called Bride of Frankensync... Every sync program should be called something like this just so non-geeks realise what they're doing when they upload files to the cloud.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Boris?

    Goldeneye.

    He beat 'Scar-Jo' (really? We doing this?) to the two keyboards at a time on screen.

    1. Raumkraut

      Re: Boris?

      I think you'll find that Arnold J Rimmer (technician, second class) got there first; during the test to join the crew of the Enlightenment.

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: Boris?

        I think you'll find that Arnold J Rimmer (technician, second class) got there first; during the test to join the crew of the Enlightenment.

        Well... he did have a BSC...

        (Bronze Swimming Certificate)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Boris?

      I am inwincible!

      1. IsJustabloke Silver badge
        Megaphone

        Re: Boris?

        I'm ashamed to admit that I do a "Boris" every time I solve a tricky application issue....

        I know.... I'm holding my head in shame

  3. malle-herbert Silver badge

    Awwww... come on....

    Movies about hacking and you completely forgot about this piece of crap :

    Live Free or Die Hard 2007

    1. silent_count

      Re: Awwww... come on....

      Not so much forgotten as supressing the memory to avoid the possibility of further crap movie induced trauma.

      Introducing Timothy Olyphant as the evil hacker mastermind you'd kick in the backside, en passant, on the way to the pub. You'd barely even break stride while thwarting his plan to... meh, whatever.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Awwww... come on....

        Ouch. FOILED AGAIN!

        OTOH, Trinity accurately hacks via SSH in the Matrix #3 I think. I can just barely remember.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Awwww... come on....

          ..and she used nmap...........

        2. IsJustabloke Silver badge

          Re: Awwww... come on....

          you're mistaken.... there was no Matrix 3

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Awwww... come on....

            There was no spoon...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Swordfish - The real reason ...

    You didn't watch Swordfish to watch the hacking (or story or action or pretty much anything else). You watched it to see Halle Berry's .... Erm... Well, you know, you get the nipple.. sorry point, you get the point.

    1. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: Swordfish - The real reason ...

      Halle's Berrys were two very fine reasons to watch the movie, but let us not forget the cars. TVRs rock in a way only a British sports car can (most often fromt he hard shoulder).

    2. Ian Yates
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Swordfish - The real reason ...

      I quite enjoy Swordfish. I always wished programming was actually like it was in the film... boxes coming and going based on the "success" of the code... awesome.

      1. Gazareth

        Re: Swordfish - The real reason ...

        Swordfish also had an excellent demonstration of the Ballmer Peak (OXR: http://xkcd.com/323/)

        Hackers is still one of my favourite films; has a great sense of humour & a cracking soundtrack!

  5. Major Ebaneezer Wanktrollop

    Magic USB sticks

    How about the USB sticks that the good guys insert into any random bad guy machine and without a tap on the keyboard up pops a huge 'Downloading Data' message on the screen. That, instead of triggering the Microsoft Transfer Fibbing Protocol (the everlasting 2 minutes to go until completion) actually fills the building with bad guys who can't reach said machine until the transfer is complete.

    Pure movie magic

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: Magic USB sticks

      Actually, the "magic USB stick" might be (unintentionally) more plausible than you give it credit for.

      ISTR that there was a bug in the PlayStation 3's USB device driver that allowed a "malicious" USB device to overflow a buffer and execute arbitrary code, thus owning the machine. Lately, there's also been a similar hack for OS X, though it requires rebooting the machine with the hacked device plugged in. It's pretty easy these days to find small machines with a USB OTG port that can be programmed to act as any USB device to test for bugs on the target machine's USB device handling and if you find an exploit, you can probably find an even smaller (ie, thumb-drive sized) machine to deploy the hack on.

      Of course, I did say that films including this plot device were only "unintentionally" plausible. Then they go and ruin it by "downloading" many terabytes of data onto a device that can't possibly hold that much data. Or any time that a sysadmin plugs an unknown device into their PC/laptop, when really they should know better (didn't the top boffin do that in Skyfall, too? Facepalm!).

  6. AndrueC Silver badge
    Happy

    Ah, Hollywood and IT. So much unintended humour.

    Like IPv4 addresses where one or more octects is often greater than 255.

    Or locating someone using the IP address of an email.

    Or referring to a GPS device as a 'tracker'. In one example they chose a GPS device because the vehicle was going where there would be no cell phone coverage.

    To say nothing of the infinitely zoomable digital image.

    NCIS had in intriguing one last week. A laptop that they plugged a USB stick into which managed to infect their network through the power cable. My first reaction was to laugh.

    Why would the technician allow the USB device to infect the laptop in the first place? But it's possible to imagine that as the only way to see what it did (a VM might be a better idea but it depends how good the sandboxing is). And she did put the laptop into a Farraday cage to prevent the infection spreading over the wifi network (and a clever virus could switch the wifi on so that was sensible). So that just left the question of an infection spreading through a power cable. Stupid? Maybe not. Perhaps all their laptops come with power-line networking support. Not completely impossible for a covert agency. But frankly I just ended up laughing..which annoyed the other person who was avidly watching it.

    But for me the big annoyance is the way Hollywood still insists on having people stay on the line for at least half a minute so that the call can be traced. I don't think that's been needed in the Western world since before the turn of the century.

    1. Colin Brett
      Terminator

      "Like IPv4 addresses where one or more octects is often greater than 255."

      I thought this was to prevent suggestible loonies actually trying to connect to that fictional IP address. If it's in a movie it must be real, right? Similar to the non-existent 555 exchange or area code used in telephone numbers.

      Colin

      Terminator Icon because we know it's IP address is in the 300+ range :-)

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Happy

        I thought this was to prevent suggestible loonies actually trying to connect to that fictional IP address. If it's in a movie it must be real, right?

        I suppose it could be,actually, although using one of the private ranges would be pretty good.

        Similar to the non-existent 555 exchange or area code used in telephone numbers.

        Yeah. I think the UK system is better. It makes it harder to spot a fictitious number. Oh and I always rewind to take a quick look at the source code. It seems to nearly always be C.

        1. Ralara

          "although using one of the private ranges would be pretty good."

          Why?

          Anyone who knows that above 255 is not possible, knows 10, 172 and 192 (et al) are private. You'd still have the voice in your head pointing out how silly it is. And someone might try to do something stupid on a 10, 172 or 192 range (i.e. at work) and get fired.

        2. Tom 13

          @AndrueC

          Never use anything real for a fictional depiction. I don't know if you recall Tommy Tutone and his hit Jenny. I lived near a town that used the prefix when the song was released. The family with the number was not amused, especially as they had a teenage daughter, even if she wasn't named Jenny.

          1. Michael Hawkes
            Childcatcher

            Re: @AndrueC

            That pretty much happened in all area codes - 867-5309/Jenny

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Blade Runner was the original and the best when it came to infinitely zoomable digital images.

      By the way, on a related note...

      http://moviecode.tumblr.com/

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge
        Happy

        Infinite zoom

        Red Drawf ftw

      2. John Gamble

        "By the way, on a related note...

        http://moviecode.tumblr.com/"

        That was an enjoyable read, thanks. Interesting that "Person of Interest" uses real exploitation code in its screen shots.

    3. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      "Like IPv4 addresses where one or more octects is often greater than 255."

      Shhh! We don't talk about the hidden IPv4 addresses!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Like IPv4 addresses where one or more octects is often greater than 255."

        There is no hidden IPv4 net. So do not attempt to route to, via or connect to any device with a negative IP address. The Undernet is better protected than 24's 'Cisco Self Defending Network'.

        Admittedly if I see a proper IP address in a movie, I will give it a poke sometimes to see if there's an easter egg on the end. As for hacking movies, my favorite is probably Cypher.

    4. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      "NCIS had in intriguing one last week."

      What a terrible show NCIS is - but it's the only show where two people can use the same keyboard simultaneously.

      1. Joey M0usepad Silver badge

        @sandtitz

        good god that 2 kbd clip is stomach churning! had 2 switch it off

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Pint

          Pair ncissing!

          Also: "INTRUSION DETECTED - FIREWALL BREACHED".

          At least you get a porn flick at the far end.

      2. AndrueC Silver badge
        Stop

        What a terrible show NCIS is

        It was okay for the first couple of seasons when it was just a variant of the old cop show format. I mean it was nothing stellar but it entertained. But then they began to develop weird, long running story arcs where they take on the world's most evil people and save western civilisation as we know it all the while trampling over the rights of the general public.

    5. Kiwi Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      @AndrueC

      But for me the big annoyance is the way Hollywood still insists on having people stay on the line for at least half a minute so that the call can be traced. I don't think that's been needed in the Western world since before the turn of the century.

      It probably goes way back before that. Telco's have been able to bill up-to-the-second for decades (even if the billed in 6-minute blocks!), and you can bet that the moment 2 phones were connected, they knew exactly who and where (unless someone had been watching Hackers (or H2) and connected 2 phones together... :) ), so I've always been pretty sure that they've been able to know pretty much instantly where a connection was. I'm also sure in cases like kidnapping, they'd be quite willing to co-operate with the cops.

      I've though for years that probably, it's a ploy to keep the un-enlightened on the phone for a critical 59-seconds in the hopes that they can get a local patrol car to the location. But then I probably watch far to many movies :)

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: @AndrueC

        it's a ploy to keep the un-enlightened on the phone for a critical 59-seconds in the hopes that they can get a local patrol car to the location

        That's a pet hate of mine with a lot of cop shows. In the closing scenes when they've worked out where the bad guys are it's usually the main characters who have to get up from their desks, jump into their cars then drive out and storm the premises to make the arrest. In most cases it's going to be quicker to just alert nearby patrols who are probably far closer.

        And even worse (Criminal Minds is a big culprit here, along with later CSI seasons) who the hell decides to send expensively trained and educated investigative officers into a probable firefight? You send in the relatively cheap and expendable grunts first not the poindexters!

        Bah. I'm definitely sounding like I watch too much TV now.

  7. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    Genius

    "...like a mad hybrid of Mavis Beacon and Rick Wakeman" :)

  8. Paul Naylor

    CSI?

    My favourite is still the classic CSI (or NCIS, MOT, ROFL, or whatever these shows are called) for the immortal line: "I'll write a GUI in Visual Basic to track his IP!". Erm, okay then, you do that.

    Actually, when things go wonky in our IT department, this is usually the line we use. Or something from IT Crowd...

    1. Peter Simpson 1
      Thumb Up

      Re: CSI?

      Or something from IT Crowd...

      For her birthday a few years ago, I gave my techie daughter...The Internet.

      She has it on her desk at work...occasionally, someone will recognize it.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: I gave my techie daughter...The Internet.

        Yes, but has she finished it yet?

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: CSI?

      For CSI whenever they do a fingerprint search I have to resist the temptation to tell them it would be quicker if it didn't waste time rendering the image on the screen :D

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: CSI?

        Well, you are correct, but having actually written commercial fingerprint-matching software, the real processing happens in background, and the fingerprint images displayed every so often are on the GUI thread (pick a random 100 or so), and are just there because people expect to see them (like in CSI, for example). An IAFIS match was claimed to take about 27 minutes.

        1. Joey M0usepad Silver badge

          Re: CSI?

          @ ac print code author

          so you are saying your program puts up an entirely worthless gfx display in order to entertain the plods , and that the tv shows showing this are indeed accurate?

    3. Ralara

      Re: CSI?

      "GUI Interface"

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: CSI?

        "GUI Interface"

        With access protection through a personal PIN number.

        1. Fab De Marco

          Re: CSI?

          Please stop! This is a genuine condition called RAS Syndrome or Redundant Acronym Syndrome Syndrome...

          Just £2 a month can educated someone to not add the word Protocol at the end of IP.

          More information here...

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAS_syndrome

  9. Graham Marsden
    Coat

    Wargames got it right...

    War dialling via an acoustically coupled modem (look it up, kids!) and then using research to find a back-door password.

    Ok, the rest of the computing was pretty much BS and it was over 30 years ago 1983, but WTH!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wargames got it right...

      You just wait for the remake.....

      ANON because well duh!

      1. Tom 13

        Re: You just wait for the remake.....

        I thought I heard that was coming out next year...

        I'm NOT planning to see it.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Angel

          Re: You just wait for the remake.....

          DAT DISCUSSION on Stackexchange: "How does David Lightman in WarGames manage to hack a computer by dialing a number?"

          "There was an internet, and you connected to it. You didn't have the World Wide Web."

        2. Joey M0usepad Silver badge

          Re: You just wait for the sequel

          FYI wargames fans - there has already been a sequel, if you feel like tracking it down . Its not bad iirc

  10. Mint Sauce
    Happy

    Mavis Beacon

    I wish I could upvote the article for mentioning good ole' Mavis. Hah, that takes me back :-)

    Also, there was the 'Unix System' in Jurassic Park. I was working on SGI systems at the time and they included fsn (File System Navigator) as part of IRIX IIRC.

    It was shit.

  11. phuzz Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Hackers

    Ok, Hackers was crap, but the soundtrack was pretty good. Prodigy, Underworld, Orbital, Leftfield, Kruder&Dorfmiester, Massive Attack etc.

    1. Anonymous Crowbar

      Re: Hackers

      I actually liked the Swordfish Soundtrack as well......

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hackers

      For the time Hackers wasn't too bad, it was made at a time when the average person didn't have a computer or understand them and was dumbed down in the light of that.

      They did their research and most of the attacks shown were current for the time (social engineering, dumpster diving, shoulder surfing etc.) I once saw clips from it used to illustrate an OU course on IT security, and the director said all the attacks depicted had been used in one form or another in real life apart from the battle with the video tape loader, (the capsizing tanker plot was taken from a genuine attack on a marine research institute where someone capsized the tanker models in the simulation tank).

      Yes, it was aiming for a teen demographic and was trying hard to be cool but you see way worse in much more recent films.

    3. Tom 13

      Re: Hackers

      How can you not like a movie that spends 60 minutes setting up a pun on the characters' last names? Next thing you'll be telling me you didn't like Brazil!

  12. ukgnome Silver badge
    Mushroom

    "it's a Unix system, I know this"

    Whenever there is a hack segment on a TV or film my wife usually looks at me to see how angry I am becoming. When I am close to exploding she knows that the shows researcher may of maid a few errors.

    And I find it odd that you haven't included Jurassic Park.

    "it's a Unix system, I know this"

    1. TwistUrCapBack
      FAIL

      Re: "it's a Unix system, I know this"

      Quote : "When I am close to exploding she knows that the shows researcher may of maid a few errors."

      Like you did with that sentence !!

      1. ukgnome Silver badge

        @TwistUrCapBack

        dammit!

    2. Matt Piechota

      Re: "it's a Unix system, I know this"

      "nd I find it odd that you haven't included Jurassic Park.

      "it's a Unix system, I know this""

      As a post a couple up from yours pointed out, that line is completely accurate. It's IRIX (which is a UNIX), and that tool (fsn) was actually on IRIX installs.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaRHU1XxMJQ

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: "it's a Unix system, I know this"

        "it's a Unix system, I know this"

        Just as ADORABLE as back then!

    3. AndrueC Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: "it's a Unix system, I know this"

      And I find it odd that you haven't included Jurassic Park.

      Or one of the other novels he wrote, Sphere. There's a couple of classics in that. While investigating the strange signals they are getting they refer to them as being the 'Askey' code. Good ol' Arthur :)

      Then later on there's a page of digits (and no letters). One of the characters says it's a hex dump (er..no way to know that given that there's no letters) then makes the comment that it can't be from a 68000 processor because they don't work in hex.

      The mind boggles :)

    4. Why Not?
      WTF?

      Re: "it's a Unix system, I know this"

      It was "It tells you everything" bit that made me laugh.

      Now if she had said it puts everything in code in an obscure log file only mentioned in 1.256 release notes that you then have to search for hours to find the explanation for she might have been believable.

  13. Big_Ted
    Megaphone

    WTF.....

    Not one of you has mentioned it.....

    The big warning about the interweb and identity theft.......

    Sandra Bullock and THE NET

    Yes it should be in capitals, the idea that via the internet they can do what they did . . . Boy was that a joke

  14. midcapwarrior

    data center without any kind of cooling

    "That and Silva’s “server farm” that is apparently operating on Japan’s Hashima Island without any kind of cooling or visible cabling"

    The newest "green" data centers are designed to reduce heat density and use outside air for cooling. Chiller-less adiabatic cooling using outside air cooling (adding humidity to reduce heat - think a spray of water on a hot day).

    It's all part of PUE reduction.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: data center without any kind of cooling

      And what about the "Winter Soldier" aereoships datacenter (using blades, but with a strange enclosure which doesn't look designed for security and strength...( put in a very and easily accessible position - but with a sci-fi design, of course? An without any access control?

      Usually those kind of equipement are in the most hardened part of a ship....

  15. joeW

    SNEAKERS

    I'm surprised Sneakers wasn't on this list - one of the more realistic Hollywood depictions of hacking. That probably says more about how cruddy the rest are than it does about the particular accuracy of Sneakers, but still.

    "No more secrets, Marty"

    1. Jeremy Allison

      Re: SNEAKERS

      Yeah, I was gonna mention this too.

      If you mentally convert the 'magic' SEATEC ASTRONOMY box to a method be quickly breaking DES, then just about everything else in this movie makes sense :-).

      Even down to James Earl Jones saying "We're the US Government, we don't do that kind of thing" to the request for "peace on Earth and goodwill to all men" :-).

      1. joeW

        Re: SNEAKERS

        I especially enjoyed the realistic method Robert Redford's character employed to defeat a supposedly unhackable electronic door lock.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Extrene image zoom

    There have been experiments with this. Watch this YT video:

    http://youtu.be/ZW8LgIo-cPA

  17. RainForestGuppy

    Cough Cough!! Independence day

    Upload a virus from a MAC to Alien Mothership job done!!

    Although when I first saw this it did make perfect sense. Of course Apple computers can interface directory to Aliens, because after having to deal with Appletalk protocols for 5 years, I can only conclude that they weren't written by a human hand.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: Cough Cough!! Independence day

      Apple computers can interface directory to Aliens

      When Steave Jobs has seen a Turing Machine, he has seen them all.

      1. LaeMing Silver badge

        Re: Cough Cough!! Independence day

        To be fair on ID, that Mac could have been running an alien-CPU emulator plus OS and network protocols reverse-engineered from the alien ship they had in the hangar.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cough Cough!! Independence day

          I remember a tech magazine at the time, reviewing Independence Day, commenting that on the plus side the aliens had successfully implemented open systems, however they had serious firewall and user authentication issues.

          1. Steven Raith

            Re: Cough Cough!! Independence day

            As I recall in different cuts of the film, or at least the script, the character had spent lost of offscreen time playing with the alien fighters systems, hence having an idea of how to interface with it cleanly.

            Still doesn't explain how he managed to write a virus for it. I mean, what did he do?

            guest@Fighter406:~ man self-destruct

            Steven R

  18. Amorous Cowherder
    WTF?

    Oh come on, you missed the best one!!!

    Jurassic Park? 11 year old girlie shouts, "This is UNIX! I know this!". She then proceeds to flash up lots of terminal windows an old SGI box and restart the entire park from a single terminal.

    Come on, it's a classic hollywood "plot-a-matic"(*) moment!

    (* It's a special add-on for Word/Pages that only Hollywood hacks are allowed to download. When they need an IT scene in a movie, this clever little app produces a script to cover the load of old tosh about "OVERRIDE PASSWORD" and hacking for the main script! )

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh come on, you missed the best one!!!

      South Park has on occasion had fun with the Hollywood hacker stereotype along the lines of :

      "hacking into the Department of Defence", tap, tap, "through the firewall,... wait it's encrypted", tap tap, "ok we're in"

      But to be honest I'm grateful Hollywood takes these liberties, who wants to see someone spend several hours accurately coding a worm or restarting a major island wide IT system?

      Probably the most believable mainstream film I've seen was Antitrust (in it's depiction of using IT rather than overall premise and plot!) which did a good job but then again some good IT industry guys were advising them or had bit parts (Linus Torvalds, Tim Lindholm, Miguel de Icaza, Scott McNealey and others, apparently the credits lists a section titled "Geeks" lol), the on screen depictions of code and command line entries were pretty good.

      1. Keven E.

        Re: Oh come on, you missed the best one!!!

        Well... if you haven't seen this yet...

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6C_HjWr3Nk

        ... you wouldn't know the password if "jeff".

  19. Kunari

    You guys forgot one (or a few)

    Comes to mind immediately, The Net (1995), which *is* a terrible film better forgotten to be honest. Hackers was at least an enjoyable tromp where The Net actually made any techie grown out in pain.

    I'm sure there are more.

  20. SuperNintendoChalmers
    Facepalm

    It's not a movie but...

    The absolute peak of this effect that I've seen was in the Canadian TV series XIII ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1713938/ ) where they hunt for a skeleton key to everything although they don't know it until they see it. When they eventually find it they introduce it as:

    "The hackers holy grail, a skeleton key that let's you access any system, any program, but it's behind dozens of layers of encryption!"

    It's then shown on screen and it turns out to be the HTML view of an Engadget page from 2011.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: It's not a movie but...

      There is a XIII series?

      The original comic didn't feature skeleton keys, just an onion layers of conspiracies, gunplay and dead people. Pretty gud!

      Luckily for all concerned the hero of Blackhat is Chris “Thor” Hemsworth, who is as familiar with the gym as the server room.

      In the real world, you will meet IT people like this, sadly in the other direction.

      1. Steven Raith

        Re: It's not a movie but...

        I'm perfectly familiar with the gym, I'll have you know.

        And that's why I don't go to one. It sounds like far too much like hard work.

  21. ST Silver badge

    Ahh, I see what they've done here

    Product placement at its best. They are selling two products. Well, three, if you count sex:

    1. iPad 128GB model - Apple. Nice.

    2. Boinking video in HD - Apple, the iPad and the iCloud. Very nice.

    3. Fear, and the Fear Industrial Complex. The Intertubes are very dangerous. We need experts to devise a control policy. For your own safety, of course, and as a service to humanity.

    I think it's fair to say I won't be watching this movie. Not even when it goes cable.

  22. Hud Dunlap
    Boffin

    What about the recruit

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0292506/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_17

    Al Pacino gets busted at the end of the movie by the main character hacking the CIA's computer so it can record Al Pacino admitting he is a double agent. In reality it is just a modified screen shot saying the lap top is connected to the CIA computer. Al Pacino thinks he is busted so he gives up.

    Decent movie.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    House of Cards

    ... had a startlingly accurate depiction of hackers and hacking in season 2.

    The hacker only had 2 monitors, didn't type especially fast, and it took him days (weeks?) to code up the hack for the particular data center they were trying to infiltrate.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Glowing screen

    Where do they get those monitors that project the screen (usually showing lots of green rolling code) all over the users face?

    And why doesn't anyone use a mouse - they manage to do everything by typing even with a GUI interface. Possible, yes, but likely?

  25. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Criminal Minds

    Let's not forget the wonky chick in Criminal Minds. She don't need no steenking mouse.

    1. Gary O'Brien

      Re: Criminal Minds

      This series has been on my mind whilst reading this thread, her hacking skills are simply amazing. One episode in which she hacks into Interpols database and finds the perp all in uder 30 secs

  26. gizmo23

    money

    A bit OT but related. Hollywood depiction of money transfers with a progress bar. Like there's some funnel of cash going down a tube. A million is bigger than a thousand so it takes longer, right?

    And the dramatic tension idea that if you pull the connection half way through 'cos the bad guys are kicking the door in then you only get half the cash.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hackers - was and is very entertaining tosh, and oddly the only one in your list putting the punk into the cyber.

  28. Huckleberry Muckelroy

    Matrix Reloaded got it Right

    In Matrix Reloaded, Trinity is trying to hack into a power station . We look over her shoulder, and see that she is SSHing into the station's 10dot. That is the only realistic depiction of computer use that I have ever seen in a movie.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More Hollywood Nonsense, Writer of the article is a pseudo intellectual

    I'm sorry to say this, but anyone who has written any code at all from html to java knows that all the fast typing in the world will not make a perfect program right off the bat. Even the best coders in the world run tests on their programs to make sure they work. Even that aside, there is still a lot of clicking involved like the opening of a program window, a text editor, a compiler, etc.. Even if by pure luck the code is perfect due to using almost the exact same coding that you have used 1000 times in other programs before this you would still either be caught by errors or the authorities who by now have already gotten enough residuals of your code or viruses to recognize who you are.

    Just the same as if you left a finger print at a crime scene codes like finger prints and language patterns are easily unique to each of in the way we express our selves through writing or even coding. Then again in Blackhat he(C.H.) was caught already when they came to him in prison to get his help, so I don't know how great a computer hacker that guy could have been. I would say that the closest Hollywood has ever come to true hacking reality is the 80's movie Wargames and the 70s movie Three Days of The Condor (Robert Redford's character physically hacks the phone system at one of the communication nodes for NYC to make an untraceable call.)

    Since then I've yet to see a realistic depiction of all the grueling hours of coding, testing, and retesting of programs that are required in order to get into most secured or encrypted networks. Even if you just downloaded some basic hacking tool (and scanned it, checked it for malicious code within it...after all what could be better than a hacker hacking another hacker?) for getting into a WiFi network; the networks have activity logs that the firewalls create. Even if some how you managed to hack that log to remove your recorded presence there are still more problems when you get on with a data mined password.

    A good example of this is that the firewall if it is any good at all it will still try to keep you out as an unrecognized IP address on a secured network. (if the network is not secured then as a hacker there would be no challenge and doubtlessly there is nothing worth risking going to jail over or bragging to your hacker friends about..ie the motive for hacking a system.) There is also the fact that on most secured networks there are both human and automated systems watching for unusual activity such as files being accessed from an outside network source. Even if you had everything prearranged for you and all you had to do was type a few keys to make it work and they made a small blurb about having done that sure I would half believe a few keystrokes.

    However we do not see that, instead we see a lot of non-random key typing and its just stupid. If the movie or any tv show was one that I enjoyed then sure I could overlook this, but again its another half assed Hollywood attempted to jump on the money wagon of anything that can sell our shitty movies and steroid/protein powder filled actors.

    The only thing worse is the clown who wrote this article that used so many overly pretentious words that sound like the guy was using a thesaurus program in over drive to find big words to make himself sound educated or at least seem intellectual enough to know what the hell he is talking about or at least convince us he does. Have you even read any technology magazines, have you even built your own network/system or even for a second done any kind of coding or programming?? Your article begs and practically screams look at me, look at me I think I know what I'm talking about, when in reality its just more B.S. thrown out their by some dumb monkey that learned how to type and use a thesaurus.

    I'm sorry sir, but your not "Biting the hand that feeds IT", your just being a side show act that for a moment caught the attention of someone looking for an article that actually addressed the sad attempts of Hollywood to cash in on something that has revolutionized, changed and molded generations of computer users the world over for the past 30 years. I applaud your writing skills; but your knowledge and understanding of this field are so sadly lacking I would say you need to go back to college/university and take an intro computer/programming course that will give you actual knowledge rather than a copy/paste commentary that has become this sad little article you have written about Hollywood and hacking.

  30. TechicallyConfused
    Happy

    Legend

    "Swordfish is notable for casting Hugh Jackman as some sort of computer expert. Six foot, handsome as all get out, socially functional Hugh Jackman. That’s more improbable than all the really fast typing."

    Great film for two berry good reasons neither of which were the hacking.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here you go - instant skillz

    http://hackertyper.net/

  32. RobDog

    You've missed one - The Italian Job (1969)

    Yes - the scene where they creep into the computer room bridge (note: NOT server room!) and swap out a loaded tape with one containing 'deez new program'. To do it, Benny Hill (Professor Peach, looking after the technical end) is offered a screwdriver??! And when the tape is mounted, it's clearly twisted....and making some sort of bup bup bupbupbupbup noise..now, in all my years as an op, no 3420 made that sound...

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