Hacking the movies

In the first month of 2015 a new hacker movie is set to come up called, Blackhat. The movie is about a convicted blackhat hacker getting recruited by the government to track down and another hacker causing mayhem and destruction. It looks fascinating and I plan to at some point see it and hopefully review it on the site.

In the meantime here are the hacker movies (in no particular order) I have seen and what I've thought of them.

Hackers - 1995

Very entertaining movie. It's been a while since I've seen it, but there a lot of very memorable scenes that I can recall. It was also referenced at the most recent DEF CON by Wesley McGrew when he hacked the pineapples people tried to use at the security conference.

Sneakers - 1992

I recently watched this movie for the first time and I was a little disappointed that I've missed out on this wonderful movie for the past two decades. It uses a lot of techniques pen testers use today to break into an organization and it's got a top notch cast. Robert Redford, David Strathairn, Dan Aykroyd, Timothy Busfield, Mary McDonnell and Donal Logue. I'm pretty sure the logo for the Blackhat conference comes from this movie.

Swordfish - 2001

I've read on Twitter that the hacking scenes in this movie are bullshit (I haven't watched it since getting into infosec) and they probably are, but that doesn't make it any less entertaining. The hacking part of the movie is simply there to push the story along to John Travolta shooting people while standing in a sports car and helicopters making buses fly. I watched this movie several times in my younger years.

Die Hard 2 - 1990

It might be a little bit of stretch to call Die Hard 2 a hacker movie, but I just watched it recently and think it's totally a hacker movie. A rogue military group takes over Dules airport to free a drug lord being extradited to the U.S. They hack into Dules airport tower and seizing control of all the systems. There's not a lot of actual hacking, but there is quite a bit of social engineering that provides a nice twist towards the end of the movie.

Live Free or Die Hard - 2007

This Die Hard actually did have quite a bit of hacking included in the movie and for the life of me I don't remember a whole lot about the movie. I thought it was a solid movie, though of course not as good as the other Die Hard movies. I'll be watching it again some time in the near future.

Office Space - 1999

In an interview I was once asked to name my three favorite movies. This was one of the movies I answered with and as expected I didn't get the job. This movie isn't about hacking but it's one of the key elements of the film when Peter, Michael and Samir upload a virus to try and rip off the company their about to fire. It's a good example of insider threat now that I think about it. It's still one of my favorite movies of all-time and if employers can't handle that, that's their problem.

The Matrix - 1999

I'm still not sure if this should be considered a hacking movie, but it uses hacking as the gateway into the real world and out of the dream state that is the Matrix. It's a visual stunning, action packed movie that still holds up to today. The other movies, not so much.

Tron - 1982

This falls along the same lines as The Matrix. A visually stunning movie that uses hacking as a gateway into another world. Tron: Legacy (2010) is even more stunning, but like the Matrix sequels falls short of the original. The soundtrack is good though.

The Italian Job - 2003

There's quite a bit of hacking from "The Napster" (Seth Green) as well as some social engineering. I would have to watch the movie again (it's free on Amazon Prime, at the moment), but from what I recall there wasn't a lot of messing about with hacking techniques. Lyle (Seth Green) was in and out and probably highlighted a weakness in traffic equipment that has become a bit more relevant today. Though, it seems to be used more as a prank than for a brilliant plan to steal a ton of gold bars.

The Social Network - 2010

Facebook all started with the hacking of the Harvard network by Mark Zuckerberg, according to the movie. The hacking seemed pretty legitimate in the movie, though I'll need to go to the judges on that one. It played a small role at the beginning of the movie and that was about it. Then it turned into a programmer and developer movie. I thought the movie was good and enjoyed it thoroughly. Like a few other movies that only have small parts of hacking this probably should make the list, but it's on the Wikipedia list so there's that.

What about you?

What are some movies you enjoyed or hated that included hacking? What did I miss and what should I see? Which ones incorporate the best hacking techniques?

Happy New Year!