Have you ever been watching a hacking scene in a film and thought “that would never happen in real life?” or “that hack is way too far-fetched to be credible”? Whether it’s a scene where an attacker gains access to a complex network using the most ridiculously simple password they’ve stolen, or a scene where they steal an entire hard drive’s worth of information from a laptop in just a few seconds, there are plenty of films out there that cut corners on cyber wrongdoing for entertainment purposes.
We get it — the ins and outs of hacking are boring, and quite frankly, film fans rarely care about how the hacking is done, only what the attack enables the perpetrator to do. But at IS Decisions, we’ve taken a different view. We’ve often wondered how films would’ve played out if the attacker came up against better security, especially when it comes to network access and file security. Just the smallest of hiccups on the hacking side would completely change the plot of any film or TV series.
Remember the 1983 classic WarGames? Computer-game aficionado Matthew Broderick hacks into the US military’s system with a legitimate password and nearly caused World War 3. Stop that hack with better access security and the film could’ve ended before it had even begun. Or what about the Snowden film, which is based on true events? Computer genius and NSA man Edward Snowden copies thousands of files onto a USB without anybody noticing before it’s too late. Stop him from doing that, and the NSA’s secrets would’ve remained, well, secret.
So, to that end, we’ve explored some of Hollywood and TV’s finest, given each of the characters and organisations UserLock and FileAudit to improve their security, and tweaked the scenes a little, changing the outcome of the film entirely. Some characters die, some survive, and some get to keep their testicles intact. Check it out.
Talk about throwing a spanner in the works.