What Hollywood gets right and wrong about hacking

phys.org | 7/20/2018 | Staff
duck.ie (Posted by) Level 3
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Technology is everywhere we look, so it's no surprise that the films and TV we enjoy are similarly obsessed. That's not to say they manage to get it right when it comes to portraying tech accurately however – and one of their worst areas is computer hacking.

I've been a Linux system administrator in and out of industry for 20 years. That means I ensure all kinds of internet services such as email, websites and news systems run smoothly, and preferably don't get hacked. My current job is to research the ethics and social impact of technology, so I love seeing anything tech-related come up in pop culture.

Operating - System - Movies - MovieOS - Beeping

The operating system that only seems to exist in movies (let's call it "MovieOS") is fascinating – the constant beeping, the clicking with every key pressed, the impossibly long progress bars, the helpful warning alerts, not to mention the ability to zoom in forever on digital images without losing clarity.

But it's the hacking scenes that get me. Every single time.

Hacking - Exercise - Music - Tension - Boxes

Hacking is most often portrayed as a frantic exercise, with fast-paced music to raise the tension while boxes flash up on screen. In one episode of the fantasy series Arrow however, the protagonists are able to continue "hacking" despite not being able to see their screens, and eventually this ridiculous hack-war turns into a tennis match with both hackers sending power surges back and forth until the antagonist's computer is blown up.

It's pretty far-fetched but hacking as a means of destruction isn't fictional and it has been portrayed better in the tech drama series Mr. Robot. In one episode, the protagonist Elliot uses a planted device to upload software onto back-up energy storage devices owned by the shadowy corporation, ECorp. This software is then used to trigger explosions – entirely reasonable as these gadgets usually...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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