8 Examples Where Movies/TV Got Hacking Wrong

8 Examples Where Movies/TV Got Hacking Wrong

hacking scene-techcribng
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
  • Google Plus
  • FriendFeed

Hollywood movie are moving forward and are also trying to be technological oriented in whatever they are doing. However, the thing about Hollywood is that the Rule of Cool must always overwrite reality. Because by a Hollywood executive’s reasoning, if it doesn’t look cool on screen, then it won’t sell tickets or top the box office chart.. So even if it is technically wrong, it must look like it’s printing money. Just ask Disney about that lemming incident.
Computer hacking isn’t really a spectator sport, so movies will embellish hacking scenes with funky visuals, inane jargon, and supercomputers that run on magic and prayer.
Sometimes when i look at movies like Nikita, Alias , Person of interest and Arrow  i asked my self it seems Hollywood writers don’t know what they are talking about. Every time a character even approaches a computer or anything tech related, chances are they’ll get something about it wrong. This is even more evident in the computer crime that is hacking. Hollywood just doesn’t seem to get it. Here are Examples Where Movies/TV Got Hacking Wrong

1.Hackers: It’s Not How ANY Of This Works

Remember during the 90’s when computer technology was starting to break into the mainstream? Computers were seen as this mythical contraption that can do anything and hackers were mysterious, anti-social techno wizards that can bring down the power grid with a few keystrokes.

The movie aptly called Hackers played those tropes in full force and even tops it off with 3D graphics that makes hacking look like a video game. Heck, not even with the hacking, the entire file system is in 3D. Imagine how inefficient their entire organization is just trying to find a word document in that thing.

2. Jurassic Park

jurrasic park-techcribng
I’ve heard so many people point out this scene as a failure, and it is usually for the wrong reason all together. The young woman sits down at a computer and announces to everyone “hey, I know this, it is unix!”, while the camera switches to a 3d rendering that looks like a physical layout of a neighborhood.

“aha! that’s not a real interface!” is usually what I hear from people, but they’re wrong. It was called FSN and did actually exist. No one really used it though because, while neat, it wasn’t a great way to actually work. Tons of people loaded it up and played with it, but it never really caught on. I actually wouldn’t have been surprised to see a super gratuitously funded IT department loading stuff like this in their spare time because they had convinced the boss man that they totally needed that SGI for… uh… network security or something.

The real hack failure is the fact that her simply recognizing the operating system means that she now has full control over EVERYTHING in the Jurassic park network.

3. Firewall: Too Distant To Connect

firewall-techcribng

This one is fun because it gets into a little hardware hacking. I LOVE improvised devices, so it caught my interest. It turned out pretty silly though. In the movie Firewall, [Harrison Ford] needs to get data off his screen to someone far away. To pull this off, he rips the scanner head from his fax machine and attaches it to an ipod. He remarks that the ipod won’t know the difference between “10,000 files or 10,000 songs”.

This is where the hackaday crowd really comes into play. Many will recognize that it is wrong, but only here will you find people that might actually figure out how it would have to really work.

First, you need something to read the data from the scanner head. Then, it needs to be converted to an actual file that is compatible with the ipod. Then you would have to initialize the transfer onto said ipod. That means that there’s got to be a decent amount of hardware and code going on in between the two items. To be fair though, they do show something there as an interface, so maybe I should have left it off the list. However, I challenge anyone to pull this off as fast as he did.

4. Swordffish

swordfish-techcribng
Swordfish came out in 2001. It has no excuse for 3d renderings of data. By this time we knew that the 3d interface of the future wasn’t really very usable (again, see FSN). Not to mention the gratuitous blow job/ gunpoint uber hacker scene that made my beverage attempt a quick escape out my nasal passage.

5. Hackers: It’s Not How ANY Of This Works

hackers_internet-techcribng
Remember during the 90’s when computer technology was starting to break into the mainstream? Computers were seen as this mythical contraption that can do anything and hackers were mysterious, anti-social techno wizards that can bring down the power grid with a few keystrokes.

The movie aptly called Hackers played those tropes in full force and even tops it off with 3D graphics that makes hacking look like a video game. Heck, not even with the hacking, the entire file system is in 3D. Imagine how inefficient their entire organization is just trying to find a word document in that thing.

6. Numb3rs: Giving IRC Far Too Much Credit

Numb3rs-TECHCRIBNG

Where do you think hackers would go if they don’t want to be caught? Why IRC of course! Ugh. For those who don’t know, IRC stands for Internet Chat Relay and is mostly a really simple chat protocol. Let’s break this down.

First, the drug boat analogy is completely meaningless. Just some 3D graphics and pointless babble to make it sound harder than it really is. Second, IRC is used by millions of average people worldwide. Not exactly a secret hacker den, is it? Next, creating an alert to find a particular username? Better hope I don’t change it or that a thousand other people are using it. Finally, “I speak L33T”. S0 d0 1, 1t’5 n0t th4t h4rd.

Stupid Crime shows on tv like NCIS, CSI, BONES.

keyboard-techcribng

  • Yes, I know it isn’t a movie. They’re just so amazingly horrible that I couldn’t leave them out. It has become this massive joke just how horribly incorrect they are. It has actually gotten to the point that I’m convinced they’re doing it on purpose. While I can understand a tiny bit of writing being targeted for audiences that aren’t familiar with the technology, some of it is simply too much.
  • The example of “two idiots one keyboard” is one that stands out. It is conceivable that you or your audience may not be familiar with hacking, or don’t know what a believable game would look like, but every one of you has used a keyboard. The script was probably written in a word processor using a keyboard. Hell, this is older than computers themselves, typewriters have them. Two people can not type on a keyboard simultaneously. It doesn’t work and everyone on the planet knows it.

7. CSI:NY : Visual Basic To Track IP

There was a Reddit post from someone that claimed to be a writer for TV shows such as CSI and Numb3rs. He says that they intentionally put these kind of technobabble as a sort of in-joke among TV show writers, to see who can get the worst line on TV. And after watching this scene, I’m inclined to believe him. Why bother creating a “Graphical User Interface”, on Visual Basic no less, just to get an IP address? Just open up a command prompt. Even Uncle Google can do that if you ask him.

8. CSI:NY : Hack Via Layout Codes

Using a hack to gain advantage in a video game is nothing new. I’m sure most gamers have used cheat devices at one time or another. They usually involve cheat codes, cheat programs or cheat devices (GameShark4Life). But it takes a special kind of idiot/genius to use HTML layout codes to hack a multiplayer session of ‘Gears Of War‘. If this was a browser based game, it would be somewhat understandable but this is like telling a French guy to give up all his money by showing him a contract in English.

CONCLUSION:
Honestly, after breaking it down  top 8 movie hacking failures, felt painfully general. It is like making a list of “top 8 animals that ever existed”. The state of technology portrayal in movies is frankly abysmal. It is obvious that the only people who know less about tech than “Hollywood” are the people making laws about it.  what can you say top this? .. Any suggestion comment let us know by using our comment box below.

Segun Balogun About Segun Balogun

SUBSCRIBE OUR NEWSLETTER

Join us for free and get valuable content delivered right through your inbox.



happy wheels
PinIt

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2014 TCNG. All rights reserved.
Designed by =RCOwned By Segun Balogun