One of the first films to include hackers in its plotline, Sneakers was referenced by both experts as an instance where cybersecurity was both accessible and realistic to viewers. The heart of the story -- that technology could decrypt everything -- made people think about a question we still face: What if there were no digital secrets?
Sneakers highlights the multi-disciplinary approach someone could take to exploit a bank, Devost explains. It walks viewers through a hacker's steps of breaking into alarm systems and testing system security. It shows how calls can be rerouted to different locations around the world.
Commercial encryption algorithms also play a role, albeit in a dramatized way. Viewers learn about the concept of a "master key" and the realistic implication of that key being used to steal money and sensitive information. The film also sheds light on social engineering.
"It gave us a lot of examples back in the '90s when we were trying to explain social engineering," says Cobb. "We could explain it with Sneakers."
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