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Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The worst computer hacks in movies

The worst computer hacks in movies

Movies have to be fun to watch and to make a computer hack look fun and exciting is not easy. That is why directors have to use some poetic license when it comes to portraying a computer hack.

However, some portrayals are so laughably stupid you can’t help but wonder about the writer. Is he a dipshit? Was the script done on a typewriter?

This is not the ‘80 where you can just explain a computer scene with gibberish. Most people are computer savvy these days and they know you are just talking bullshit.

Here are three of the worst that I have seen.

Swordfish: Wolverine cracks the AES algorithm in 60 seconds

Hugh Jackman is not having a good day. He is locked in a room with Bad-Hair-John-Travolta and to make matters worse, he has a gun to his head. Hugh only has a few seconds to crack an encryption algorithm before John Travolta blows his brains out. Also, he is getting a blowjob at the same time (for some reason).

Hugh bangs at the keyboard for a while and ‘TA-DA’, encryption broken! Later when asked how he managed to do it, he says, “I don’t know, I can see the code in my head.”

See the code in your head? Like that is a genius ability to have. You can see the code in your eyes too.

The code for the AES algorithm is published right here.

The code is public knowledge. You see, back in the day organizations relied on keeping their security measures secret. That did not work very well, when the secret got out (leaked by a disgruntled employee or whatever) the entire system is compromised. The phenomenon was called “Security by obscurity”.

Security experts realized a better way of doing this would be to publish the algorithm that you are using. That way all the best experts in the world (and hackers) can take a look at your algorithm and find all the bugs and weaknesses.  Once the experts can’t find any more weaknesses, you have a pretty strong algorithm on your hands. Now, nobody can compromise your system, even if they have in depth knowledge of it.

AES, the encryption scheme used by the Department of Defence (as seen in the video), was put through this test and survived scrutiny from all over the world.

 There is no way to easily crack it. The only way possible to get in is a Brute Force attack. That is where you try and guess every password that there is. To give you an idea just how resistant AES is to Brute Force attack:

If you start guessing a million passwords every second since the Big Bang you will still be busy to this very day.

So, if you ever find yourself in the same situation as Hugh up there, just sit back and enjoy the blowie.

Firewall: Indiana Jones hacks a server with an iPod

In a scene where Harrison Ford has to steal some information of a server, he sticks a scanner into an iPod and then duck tapes the thing to a computer screen. This contraption than proceeds to steal the bank account numbers.

Do I have to explain to anybody why that won’t work? 

Texas Walker: The first time Chuck Norris sees a computer

This episode was shot in 2000. Computers were already a thing back then. It was not something new, but for the writer it was obviously a new thing and you have to assume the script was done on a typewriter.

In this episode of Walker Texas Ranger a hacker has hacked the FBI’s database and is selling the information to mobsters. To combat the hacker Walker sets up a high tech computer command center.

When the other rangers see the center for the first time their jaws drop open. One of them breathlessly whispers: “It’s like NASA!” when another one hilariously exclaims “NASA 20 years into the future!” never having actually seen what NASA looks like.

NASA. Twenty years into the future.

Walker also got himself a good hacker to take down the bad hacker. For her first task he asks her to hack into a mobster’s bank account. She asks Walker what is his name and where is he located and then casually taps the keyboard three or four times and she‘s in his bank account!

BRILLIANT! She just hacked a bank’s website with less keystrokes it takes me to type the URL to my online bank!

You can see the full episode at TubePlus (if it has not been removed). There are plenty more stupid hacking tricks, like the bad guy hacking the FBI by typing really fast and many more. It’s a must see.

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