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3/26/2019
02:10 PM
Steve Zurier
Steve Zurier
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10 Movies All Security Pros Should Watch

Don't expect to read about any of the classics, like 'War Games' or 'Sneakers,' which have appeared on so many lists before. Rather, we've broadened our horizons with this great mix of documentaries, hacker movies, and flicks based on short stories.
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1. Citizenfour
This documentary, by filmmaker Laura Poitras, chronicles in real time how 'Citizenfour' (Edward Snowden) leaked classified intelligence documents to journalist Glenn Greenwald and his colleagues at The Guardian and The Washington Post in June 2013. Whether you consider Snowden a hero or a felon who should be extradited to the United States and tried for espionage, security pros will find this movie riveting. Viewers get to see Snowden, Greenwald, and filmmaker Poitras hatch the plan for how the stories based on the leaks would be published and managed in the media at large - right as it was happening. 
Today Snowden remains in Russia, where he has been outspoken against both the Trump administration and the Putin government. His asylum runs until 2020, so it will be interesting to see what happens next. Cynics may claim that nothing has changed and privacy has only become worse in the past five or six years, but the stories that followed the release of the classified NSA materials did launch an important national debate on the role of government surveillance in the Internet era. More importantly, security pros can't overlook that one day their organizations could fall prey to an insider either looking to make a political point, as Snowden was, or worse - bent on malicious intent.
Watch trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiGwAvd5mvM

Image Source: Adobe Stock- RAFAEL MARCHANTE / REUTERS

1. Citizenfour

This documentary, by filmmaker Laura Poitras, chronicles in real time how "Citizenfour" (Edward Snowden) leaked classified intelligence documents to journalist Glenn Greenwald and his colleagues at The Guardian and The Washington Post in June 2013. Whether you consider Snowden a hero or a felon who should be extradited to the United States and tried for espionage, security pros will find this movie riveting. Viewers get to see Snowden, Greenwald, and filmmaker Poitras hatch the plan for how the stories based on the leaks would be published and managed in the media at large right as it was happening.

Today Snowden remains in Russia, where he has been outspoken against both the Trump administration and the Putin government. His asylum runs until 2020, so it will be interesting to see what happens next. Cynics may claim that nothing has changed and privacy has only become worse in the past five or six years, but the stories that followed the release of the classified NSA materials did launch an important national debate on the role of government surveillance in the Internet era. More importantly, security pros can't overlook that one day their organizations could fall prey to an insider either looking to make a political point, as Snowden was, or worse - bent on malicious intent.

Watch trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiGwAvd5mvM

Image Source: Adobe Stock- RAFAEL MARCHANTE / REUTERS

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NathanDavidson
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NathanDavidson,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/7/2019 | 11:41:40 PM
Inside jokes
It is interesting to know how much info in certain movies that I have blatantly missed. I guess it really does take an insider to pick up the inside 'jokes'. Now that you've mentioned it all, those very movies seem good for a quick re-run.
nexus100
100%
0%
nexus100,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/3/2019 | 10:04:36 AM
Hackers?
Disappointed to not see Hackers on the list.  While the CGI was over the top and a bit ridiculous, the hacking aspects were really good. It was mostly social engineering to get passwords. Dumpster diving, shoulder surfing, and phone phreaking were all featured prominently. They also referenced a bunch of real-world reference books that were absolutely required reading for hackers during that time period. Not to mention highlighting the potential risks involved in computerizing control systems of large ships. Something that has recently been recognized again as a major risk with the potential to sink ships at sea.
szurier210
100%
0%
szurier210,
User Rank: Moderator
3/29/2019 | 7:02:35 PM
Re: Lawnmower man??!
Thanks for your comment. I looked this up and you are right, Stephen King sued to have his name removed from the credits. Here's a link to some background of the lawsuit. This all happened in the 1990s, but thanks again for pointing this out, seems that Stephen King was upset by this because the movie The Lawnmower Man bore little or no resemblance to his short story. Take a look: https://ew.com/article/1994/04/22/stephen-king-wins-lawsuit/
jeffmaley
50%
50%
jeffmaley,
User Rank: Strategist
3/29/2019 | 6:37:56 PM
Lawnmower man??!
You should research this one a bit more. Only a small, unimportant part of the movie referenced the Stephen King short story. The producers used that to leverage it into a 'Stephen King' movie, which it is not. Not a bad flick, but has very little to do with King.
REISEN1955
100%
0%
REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
3/28/2019 | 3:32:57 PM
COLOSSUS - THE FORBIN PROJECT
Now this is going a way back - a TV movie with Eric Stradden (if memory has that right) about a huge super-computer in America that talks to and befriends a companion in Russia.  The two, of course, decide that all humans need their supervision and assistance, stand down weapons to promote world peace with total dictatorial control of everything.  A very cautionary tale indeed about the sheer power of networks and, even then, when this was primitive stuff--- still holds true today.  

i would be remiss not to note down the power of the CRM114 device either - and true movie buffs know where that one came from.  (Back to the Future gives it a polite knod as well as Men in Black 3). 
msims20701
100%
0%
msims20701,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/28/2019 | 1:37:51 PM
TRON (1982)
TRON - A 1982 walt Disney film staring Jeff bridges as Kevin Flynn a brilliant computer programmer who was fired from ENCOM turned hacker who teams up with two computer programmers from Encom Alan Bradly (Bruce Boxleitner) and Lora (Cindy Morgan) to recover his computer game programs that were stolen and missppropriated by his former boss Ed Dillinger now senior exec at ENCOM. When Flynn breaks into ENCOM he sarcastically states: "They never should have gotten rid of me" and latter Flynn encounters the MCP (Master Control program) which transports him inside a supercomputer into the digitized world of TRON.

Once there Flynn latter encounters two programs Yori5 and TRON to help TRON serach for and distroy the MCP and Sark (Command Program) so that Flynn can restore ownership to his video game programs, put Dillienger in jail and (spoiler alert) Flynn becomes the new exec at ENCOM. The movie briliantly combines live action with mostly computer animation for the entire three quarters of the film. The most interesting thing about this film is that the digital world of TRON mirrors the real world of Flynn where every program has a user. Flynn is Clu's user, Alan1 is TRON's user, Lora is Yori5's user and Dillinger is Sark's user.

This film also posses a very interesting question which may be somewhat apparent at the very end when day turns to night over the city before the credits roll: Are we humans just conscripts controlled by some type of master control program in the sky? Maybe as to paraphrase William Shakesphere: "The computer's a platform and all it's programs merley its systems."

Something for everyone to comtemplate since we humans are so dependent on our computers and other types of electronics. A lesson here for all companies from a security standpoint is before you fire any programmer or technician make sure you fully revoke all privilaged access both soft (passwords) and hard (access cards).   

 
REISEN1955
100%
0%
REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
3/26/2019 | 3:26:21 PM
Added title
THE CUCKOO'S EGG - documentary on the epic battle an astronomer, Clifford Stoll, waged against a renegade intruder in Berkeley labs in CA many years ago - an insightful examination of security flaws embedded in the minds of military personnel who claim their systems ARE secure when the hacker is rampaging through and downloading files.  The book itself is fascinating and it was turned into a documentary.  Either one is a frightening tale for our time and much of it remains valid today.  (Passwords sent by email and written down) plus a unique flaw in Berkeley UNIX that permitted a system to spawn SUPERADMIN rights through a simple word processor akin to our NOTEPAD.  Definate to do - read or watch!

Steven Levy's HACKERS is also a great read about the birth of the community we live in starting in Route 128 in Boston through the Homebrew Computer Club and the emergence of Gates and Jobs.  Along the way we meet techs who lived for the DEC PDP-11 systems and Colossal Cave.  A different time, and maybe then not so different.
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