Why Hollywood Hacking Is So Hilariously Horrible

CommanderFrank

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The hacking scenes on TV and in the movies are enough to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck if you have any knowledge of computer-doings. Even novice computer-ites know when they’ve been had with the on-screen shens, but it makes for exciting scenes mainly because of the lack of realism.

So forgive Hollywood if they try to spice things up with pretty flashing lights and frenzied typing. After all, it's basically impossible to film accurate hacking and have it be visually interesting in the way film demands.
 

swatbat

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Jokes aside am I the only one that thinks some of the stuff kinda looks legit in their examples video they took from college humor? The Speed 2 scene looks like it could be used on a real ship. Same with the Elevator controls from Die Hard.
 
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Showing a dude pushing his glasses up and swilling coffee for 20 hours straight would make great entertainment.
 

Exavior

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What we don't get is that most parts of movies / tv shows is completely wrong not just computer stuff.
 

RealityCrunch

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The scenes on TV and in the movies are enough to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck if you have any knowledge of how things work in the real world.

There we go.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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House of Cards both impressed me and disappointed me at the same time when it comes to stuff like this.
 

LonerVamp

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Indeed, not all of those from the example video were *that* bad. (And what, didn't include The Matrix or War Games? Untraceable?)

Even still, I prefer when movies/shows get the writing correct. The visuals I can forgive, because, well, it does need to be entertaining. For instance, I'll forgive the visuals of a stylized movie like Hackers (which is portrayed from the perspective of 80's/90's hackers and their own stylized view of themselves), but butchering terms like in Firewall makes me cringe.

Still, I don't get too upset. Sometimes inaccuracies are made just to move the plot along; kinda like speeding up any forensics processing or chemical/tox testing to ridiculously short time frames. It happens. If I want to watch accurate hacking, I'll go to Black Hat/Defcon (oh wait, I do go!).

Even still, the portrayal of hacking isn't nearly as annoying as when every fuzzy image can be "enhanced" to see details like a reflection of a fingerprint in someone's eyeball in a picture taken 50 feet away. Fail.
 

Semantics

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I thought the movie Hackers was 100% technically accurate.
hack the planet!

All jokes aside it does seem rather hard to make hacking seem interesting. I mean you could show a guy sitting at a deck looking over lines of code running shit though a step by step debugger hoping to find crap but it just wont be all that appealing.
Ofc real espionage isn't too sexy either digging though trash sending stuff to your handlers mostly living a boring life outside of random things every once and awhile.
 

temujin987

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it's easy to make fun of hacking scenes in movies as old as 30 years or more. generally, UIs are idiotic in movies especially concerning military applications such as if a fighter pilot is locking a target or radar/satellite imaging etc is analyzing something.
 

LonerVamp

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Even if you overlook any technical issues with hollywood hacks, I also get annoyed when an attacker looks at some strange interface/terminal and immediately knows what to do. That just doesn't happen; these companies barely have their own employees who know how to do those things (or to know exactly which server out of 200 to stick a USB stick into). Most attackers will just end up breaking things as they push the wrong buttons and need to spend some time with a manual.

Great, see, now I'm getting started. Let's also talk lockpicking....*any* time they use just one manual pick, they're doing it wrong.
 

Semantics

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Even if you overlook any technical issues with hollywood hacks, I also get annoyed when an attacker looks at some strange interface/terminal and immediately knows what to do. That just doesn't happen; these companies barely have their own employees who know how to do those things (or to know exactly which server out of 200 to stick a USB stick into). Most attackers will just end up breaking things as they push the wrong buttons and need to spend some time with a manual.

Great, see, now I'm getting started. Let's also talk lockpicking....*any* time they use just one manual pick, they're doing it wrong.
Where did you see someone pick with just 1 pick? you need something to shove into the bottom to add a small amount of torque to hold the pins in as you push them up into their disengage points. Frankly ionno why hollywood bothers with lock picks just show bump keys, any idiot can use one and they work on the majority of locks. There are a vast array of picking tools and techniques.
 

lucidrenegade

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The one hollywood computer thing that bugs me more than anything else is the bogus IP address. I cringe when I see something like 823.902.301.22. Seriously?
 

Exavior

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The one hollywood computer thing that bugs me more than anything else is the bogus IP address. I cringe when I see something like 823.902.301.22. Seriously?

That is no different than using 555-555-1234 as a phone number. They don't want to use a real IP and cause people to try to access it or DOS the IP just because they saw it in a movie, no more than they want somebody with a phone number to get a crap load of calls because they used a real phone number in show or movie.
 

LonerVamp

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Where did you see someone pick with just 1 pick? you need something to shove into the bottom to add a small amount of torque to hold the pins in as you push them up into their disengage points. Frankly ionno why hollywood bothers with lock picks just show bump keys, any idiot can use one and they work on the majority of locks. There are a vast array of picking tools and techniques.

I see it often enough that I don't even recall specifics. Picking a door lock is often done wrong, such that when it is done right, I get a little wood.
 

LonerVamp

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That is no different than using 555-555-1234 as a phone number. They don't want to use a real IP and cause people to try to access it or DOS the IP just because they saw it in a movie, no more than they want somebody with a phone number to get a crap load of calls because they used a real phone number in show or movie.

Yup! I even borrow that number whenever I sign up for stuff. xxx-555-xxxx will never work.
 

RealityCrunch

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The one that always seems to make me squirm in my seat is the ol 'Alligator clip onto outside of wire insulation' :p

wxxgpRH.jpg
 

Old_Way

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It's the Hollywood version of GPS signals that always makes me squirm. Those satellites are thousands of miles out in space and require line of sight (even if it's just getting 3 satellites through a window -the minimum needed) to get any kind of triangulation location from their radio signals. Being in the middle of a building or in a parking garage, or whatever, makes GPS totally worthless.
 

DustMite

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Wait, you mean having 15 monitors does not automatically make one a super "hacker?"
Now I'm all sad. :p
 

dgingeri

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Seriously, why complain about this. It's not as if we have enough knowledge to know if Star Trek is right about how to make the impulse and warp engines work. It's not as if we have enough knowledge to say if the Iron Man armor is realistic. It's not as if we argue about if The Hulk was proper about genetic experimentation. Hacking is just like all science fiction in movies: to the average person it is just magic in a box. Suspend your disbelief and concentrate on enjoying the story. That's what movies and TV are for.
 

swatbat

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On a side note didn't the second matrix movie show trinity using nmap?

I think the bigger question would be what movies have done it more accurately?
 

Skripka

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On a side note didn't the second matrix movie show trinity using nmap?

I think the bigger question would be what movies have done it more accurately?

The only TV or movie I can recall that does anything remotely close to real life computer work is Person of Interest.
 

dderidex

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I seem to recall that 'Sneakers' didn't do a bad job with most of the "hacking" involved (granted, given the McGuffin of the whole thing)
 

Exavior

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Most things are going to be wrong when it comes to movies / shows.

* hacking
* breaking into buildings / getting around security systems (there really aren't green lights for you to make light up to step over)
* explosions
* flipping / crashing cars
* people getting sucked out of airplanes when a hole is created in the side of them
* One man taking down an entire building full of bad guys
* people able to fix a broken down car or piece of equipment with little to no parts.
 

SGA76

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Most things are going to be wrong when it comes to movies / shows.

* hacking
* breaking into buildings / getting around security systems (there really aren't green lights for you to make light up to step over)
* explosions
* flipping / crashing cars
* people getting sucked out of airplanes when a hole is created in the side of them
* One man taking down an entire building full of bad guys
* people able to fix a broken down car or piece of equipment with little to no parts.

Add a couple to that list:
* Sex in a bathroom stall
* A guy that asks for directions
* The silent wife that isn't deaf, mute and handless
* Singing chipmunks that aren't being dissected by scientists
 

172floater

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another problem with Hollywood is the constant obsession with adding pointless sounds, beeps, and noises every time somebody navigates around a computer UI. Zooming in on a map? Need a zooming sound. Opening up a new menu? Need a opening menu sound. That's something hilariously not exciting.
 

Exavior

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Add a couple to that list:
* Sex in a bathroom stall
* A guy that asks for directions
* The silent wife that isn't deaf, mute and handless
* Singing chipmunks that aren't being dissected by scientists

#2 and 3 are possible. #3 just takes a lot of training or large amounts of money. ;)
 
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Add a couple to that list:
* Sex in a bathroom stall
* A guy that asks for directions
* The silent wife that isn't deaf, mute and handless
* Singing chipmunks that aren't being dissected by scientists

Dude if you've never gotten any in a bathroom/other public place you need to loosen up and live a little...
 

Red Squirrel

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The one that always seems to make me squirm in my seat is the ol 'Alligator clip onto outside of wire insulation' :p

wxxgpRH.jpg

Maybe it actually works like a clamp on amp meter, but it can somehow distinguish the 8 wires and then reproduces the ethernet signal through induction core magnetization polarizing by passing it through a signal matrix demodulator. :D
 

DustMite

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Have you tried wearing roller blades?
Huh? I don't get it. To answer the question, yes I have worn them, but what has that got to do with Hollyweird portraying a super hacker as someone having 15 computer monitors?
 

Hornet

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I remember seeing a scene on tv where two person were mashing the same keyboard trying to stop a hacker or something, lol. I think it was NCIS one of those crime investigation shows. But that remains the funniest computer scene in tv/movies I've came across.

I don't mind stuff that are not realistic, but sometimes certain things are overdone it becomes very obvious.
 

Trimlock

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Maybe it actually works like a clamp on amp meter, but it can somehow distinguish the 8 wires and then reproduces the ethernet signal through induction core magnetization polarizing by passing it through a signal matrix demodulator. :D

haha, you forgot those clamps contain a unique super strong spring that produces enough torque to break through the outer shielding and then just barely enough to splice through the small plastic covering the copper wires.

It amazes me more people don't know about these clamps!
 
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