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Marilyn Cohodas
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Hacker Movies We Love & Hate

Check out Dark Reading community members' favorite hacker movie hits and misses. Then add your picks in the comments section.
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By Rick Howard, CSO, Palo Alto Networks
WarGames is the perfect blend of hacker-as-the-hero (he prevents a nuclear WWIII), hacker-gets-the-girl (he wins Ally Sheedy -- yowza!), and hacker-demonstrates-real-world-hacking-techniques (he shows how to get free long-distance telephone calls) that impressionable teenagers like me (when I first saw the movie) love. There is no other hacker movie produced that comes closer at presenting a computer artificial intelligence (Joshua -- running on the WOPR: War Operation Plan Response) that upstages some pretty hefty actors like Dabney Coleman, Barry Corbin, the afore-mentioned Ally Sheedy, and Matthew Broderick with immortal lines like, "The only winning move is not to play" and "Shall we play a game?"

And did I mention that the movies villain is played by Dabney Coleman? That makes it better than most other hacker movies with just that. Finally, the young hacker tells the audience what everybody in the cyber security community already knows: "I dont believe that any system is totally secure." Because of all of that, WarGames is the greatest hacker movie of all time.

By Corey Nachreiner, Director of Security Strategy, WatchGuard Technologies
While it may not be the quintessential hacking movie, WarGames came out during my formative years, thus it holds a place in my heart. I saw it during the early 80s, as a 10-year-old whod been exploring my dads "Trash-80" (TRS-80), diligently transferring pages of BASIC from a computer magazine to my microcomputers 8K of memory, just to play a simple game.

As a kid, I was already into computers and video games, in a time when home versions were relatively inaccessible. WarGames was the first movie I remember glamorizing these interests. It also introduced my young mind to hacking. While the tech seems quaint now, WarGames had all the staples of hacking today. You have David social engineering his way out of class, stealing badly managed passwords, and even ICS and SCADA system hacks.

While Hollywood always sensationalizes things, some techniques -- like war-dialing -- were reality based. I later used war-dialers myself to sniff out hidden BBSs.

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Kelly Jackson Higgins
Kelly Jackson Higgins,
User Rank: Strategist
7/2/2014 | 11:04:12 AM
Re: Nicely Done!
This slide show makes me want to rent some of these old movies. It's been a long time since I've seen some of them.
Marilyn Cohodas
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
7/1/2014 | 1:17:46 PM
Re: Nicely Done!
It defnitely does! You Dark Reading folks definitely love your hacker movies (and your jobs!)
User Rank: Author
7/1/2014 | 12:35:27 PM
Nicely Done!
Raises an interesting debate of life imitating art or vice versa?
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