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Attacks/Breaches

4/20/2017
04:30 PM
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
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6 Times Hollywood Got Security Right

Hollywood has struggled to portray cybersecurity in a realistic and engaging way. Here are films and TV shows where it succeeded.
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Sneakers (1992)
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.'
(Image: Iunewind via Shutterstock)

Sneakers (1992)

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."

(Image: Iunewind via Shutterstock)

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ANON1248385514336
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ANON1248385514336,
User Rank: Strategist
4/21/2017 | 11:29:49 AM
You missed one.

This article for me was kind of a "Duh" moment. There's no major epiphanies here. What about "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". For me, the brief glimpse of a SQL injection attack elevated the proficiency of the character way more than any portrayed hacker before that movie.

JulietteRizkallah
50%
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JulietteRizkallah,
User Rank: Ninja
4/26/2017 | 7:05:29 PM
Re: You missed one.
I agree!! The Millenium series has the best representation of the hacking techniques!  But maybe it was not included in this article as not initially created by Hollywood...
SecretSquirrel96
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50%
SecretSquirrel96,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/24/2017 | 12:54:37 PM
Enemy of the State
Going to have to disagree on enemy of the State having anything realistic about it at all, let alone anything to do with Cyber Security. The only thing close to getting it right in that movie, was the fact the NSA exists.

Beyond that it was a typical Hollywood version of reality.

When you start of the movie with the murder of a politician by an NSA director, you lose all credibility in the realism category.

NSA doesn't, task or control imagery satelittes, nor are they re-tasked in real time or streaming live video, that's just completely ridiculous

 

 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
4/25/2017 | 1:30:29 PM
Sneakers, Hackers
It's been quite some time since I've seen Sneakers, but I definitely remember it as being among the less sensationalized and more "accurate" depictions of hacking.

Incidentally, I seem to recall the movie Hackers having some ridiculousness in it -- but it did offer one cool trick: That you can turn any (landline) phone into a rotary phone -- if, for some reason, dialing directly isn't a feasible or desirable option -- by simply tapping the hang-up clicker X number of times for each number.
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