Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

April 8, 2015

Hacking is unrealistic in TV shows and Movies… No really?

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 9:02 PM

Over the past few months I have seen multiple posts/comments/rants about how Hacking is not portrayed realistically in media. Is it really that big a surprise that like all things, Hacking is also portrayed unrealistically in TV & Movies? Or did you really think that this is how cars are driven or that people can run around after getting shot multiple times with a machine gun without bleeding to death? TV/Movies are meant to entertain, and sometimes that requires stretching the truth a bit ’cause guess what, real life doesn’t look that great on the screen.

Now I am not saying that some shows don’t take it to such an extreme that you are left wondering what on earth just happened but for the most part it is ok to stretch the truth. If I really wanted to look at a someone spending hours trying to figure out why some piece of code is not working then I don’t have to go to the movies for it, I can just go to work and look at the folks around me. (Not that watching them is not entertaining at times 😉 ).

All that being said, at times you do feel like finding the director or producer of a particularly WTH depiction of technology and smacking them on the head. Few of the gems that stand out in my memory are:

  • In Scorpion, the heroes need to get a backup for the ATC software from a plane which has the only non-corrupted version of the software (apparently the IT admins there haven’t heard of multiple backups). The only way to get it off the plane is to dangle an Ethernet cable from the plane to a laptop in a car racing under the plane.
  • In Bones, a genius hacker creates marks on bone that when scanned to create a 3D model of the body somehow automatically convert to code and make the CPU fry itself. The best part is that they can’t replace the burnt boards and be back up and running because apparently backups are for wimps.

Some of the others are listed here and here. There are a ton of such instances, but for the most part I don’t care as I am watching to be entertained. As long as they don’t get to a point where the issues distract from the show I am fine with it.

That is not to say that I don’t appreciate movies/shows where they do research and the techno-babble makes some semblance of sense. Those are a treasure and need to be appreciated like fine wine. This site has a list of some of the more realistic hacking portrayals in the media.

After talking about all this I feel a desire to go watch Wargames again. Or maybe Hackers. 😉 So this is all for now, I will write more later.

– Suramya

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress