I was listening to the latest Pauldotcom Security Weekly podcast and they were discussing their favorite hacker movies. They, as most people, dismissed Hackers as cheesy, lame, whatever and try to sweep it under the rug. I disagree with this and think it is a great hacker movie and would like to point out the reasons I think so. I have also included some quotes from the movie that exemplify my reasons.
So, Here are my top 10 reasons “Hackers” is a good hacker movie:
10 List of most commonly used passwords (at least at the time) and why you should not use them. “love, sex, secret, and god”
9 Good hacker advice. “You don’t hack a bank across state lines from your house…”
8 Awesome hacker music. (did you know they released 3 soundtracks to that movie?)
7 Demonstration of phreaking and the use of acoustic couplers.
6 List of hacker training resources. “The Pink Shirt Book, Guide to IBM PCs. So called due to the nasty pink shirt the guy wears on the cover.” (referring to Peter Norton)
5 Actual viruses from the time. “Type “cookie”, you idiot.”
4 Foreshadowing of podcasts / videocasts. Every time I watch a show like Hak.5 or thebroken I think of the “Hack The Planet!” show with Razor and Blade. “That’s right, this IS a payphone. Don’t ask.”
3 Demonstration of a redbox (even though the sounds they were used were not the correct tones). “No no no, thank YOU!”
2 Demonstration of social engineering. “It’s a little boxy thing, Norm, with switches on it… lets my computer talk to the one there…”
1 Angelina Jolie. “I hope you don’t screw like you type.”
In short, “hacker movies” have classically been made in two ways. You can either have a lot of typical hollywood story and one or two very accurate “hacker things” (2 second screenshot of nmap), or (as in the case of Hackers) you can fill the whole thing with real world “hacker goodies” but hollywood them up to make it more entertaining (3d unix file system interface).
I love Hackers. There’s some great lines in the movie and the music rules.
“Computer screens don’t reflect on peoples faces.” The creators knew that. They put that in for aesthetic value, not realism.
I like the part where Fisher Stevens is talking in that office and accidentally pulls an oil well off the miniature map. :) Good acting.