Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Careers & People

2/28/2018
02:30 PM
Steve Zurier
Steve Zurier
Slideshows
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Hacking on TV: 8 Binge-Worthy and Cringe-Worthy Examples

From the psycho-drama Mr. Robot to portraying the outright dangers of ransomware taking down a hospital in Grey's Anatomy, hacking themes now run deep in today's TV shows.
Previous
1 of 9
Next

Image Source: Shutterstock via stock_photo_world

Image Source: Shutterstock via stock_photo_world

Hackers and inside stories about hacking have made their way into popular culture in a big way.

There’s still nothing that quite tops USA Network’s Mr. Robot for its sheer ability to drill down into the details of how hackers think and operate. The series' protagonist and anti-hero, Eliot Alderson, played by Rami Malek, is a self-described hacker and computer tech complete with a drug problem and social anxiety and chronic depression disorders. While Malek’s character is clearly a bit of a stereotype, some viewers are forgiving.

"By far, Mr. Robot is the most accurate in the way it portrays the methods of hackers," says Jason Haddix, vice president of trust and security at Bugcrowd. "In most shows, the longest time to exploit you'll see is about 30 seconds. It's never that simple. Our work can take hours and days to do enough reconnaissance to find a flaw."  

Stu Sjouwerman, founder and CEO of KnowBe4, says shows such as NCIS and its spin-offs NCIS Los Angeles and NCIS New Orleans tend to be "quick and dirty" and don’t really give viewers a sense of how hacking is quite tedious.

"Hacking is a methodical and tedious exercise, but once you get there it's like, 'whoa,'" Sjouwerman says.

The sense of excitement and danger that surrounds hacking makes for good television. Hackers took over Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital earlier this year during multiple episodes of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and despite all the subplots that included domestic abuse themes and a transgender hacker who saves the day, the episode gave a reasonable depiction of how disruptive and dangerous it would be for a hospital to be held up for a $20 million ransom. 

Other TV shows this year, from Bull on CBS to Showtime’s Homeland offered up hacker plots and subplots. And HBO plans to launch Hackerville this fall, a new series based in Europe.

In putting together this slideshow, we drew from today’s popular shows to many of the popular techie shows of the past, like Person of Interest, CSI Cyber and Numb3rs. If you haven’t seen some of these shows, click on the links to trailers and episode clips to catch up and do some binge watching of your own. 

 

Steve Zurier has more than 30 years of journalism and publishing experience, most of the last 24 of which were spent covering networking and security technology. Steve is based in Columbia, Md. View Full Bio

Previous
1 of 9
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
US Turning Up the Heat on North Korea's Cyber Threat Operations
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  9/16/2019
MITRE Releases 2019 List of Top 25 Software Weaknesses
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  9/17/2019
Preventing PTSD and Burnout for Cybersecurity Professionals
Craig Hinkley, CEO, WhiteHat Security,  9/16/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-9717
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-19
In Libav 12.3, a denial of service in the subtitle decoder allows attackers to hog the CPU via a crafted video file in Matroska format, because srt_to_ass in libavcodec/srtdec.c has a complex format argument to sscanf.
CVE-2019-9719
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-19
A stack-based buffer overflow in the subtitle decoder in Libav 12.3 allows attackers to corrupt the stack via a crafted video file in Matroska format, because srt_to_ass in libavcodec/srtdec.c misuses snprintf.
CVE-2019-9720
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-19
A stack-based buffer overflow in the subtitle decoder in Libav 12.3 allows attackers to corrupt the stack via a crafted video file in Matroska format, because srt_to_ass in libavcodec/srtdec.c misuses snprintf.
CVE-2019-16525
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-19
An XSS issue was discovered in the checklist plugin before 1.1.9 for WordPress. The fill parameter is not correctly filtered in the checklist-icon.php file, and it is possible to inject JavaScript code.
CVE-2019-9619
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-19
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: none. Reason: This candidate was withdrawn by its CNA. Further investigation showed that it was not a security issue. Notes: none.