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Hollywood's Hacking Stereotype
Are hackers really like that?
monkeythumpa




msg:323338
 8:40 pm on Dec 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

So I watch these movies where hackers are attacking the mainframe and the screen shows them flying through this virtual world navigating firewalls and virus protection in a very Dungeons and Dragons-esque manner. (The cartoon from the 80's, not the RPG) I know that a guy in front of a command prompt is not very cinematic, but where did this notion of a virtual world come from? TRON?

 

g1smd




msg:323339
 8:42 pm on Dec 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

It all comes down to what your average Hollywood producer is smoking at the time I guess....

jatar_k




msg:323340
 8:42 pm on Dec 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think it just makes it easier for people to understand and gives them that sense of drama and WOW.

>> a person in front of a command prompt is not very cinematic

I think you already have your answer ;)

PatrickDeese




msg:323341
 8:53 pm on Dec 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

I once watched a (home)video of some hackers who had managed to obtain superuser access to a couple US government computer systems.

It was a little like watching paint dry.

A year or so later I saw the movie "Hackers" with Angelina Jolie - and the hacking portrayed looked more like the screensaver was activated than hacking a computer.

Since most hacked servers are done with scripts looking for unpatched PCs - there's really nothing to watch, IMHO.

mivox




msg:323342
 8:55 pm on Dec 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Imagine the blockbuster potential of a telnet session... Man. That would beat a good explosion-laden car chase at the box office any day!

A year or so later I saw the movie "Hackers"

ROFL! I love that movie! Bought it on DVD... teehee

nzmatt




msg:323343
 9:42 pm on Dec 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

a person in front of a command prompt is not very cinematic

A year or so later I saw the movie "Hackers" with Angelina Jolie

Yes, I found Angelina particularly cinematic in that movie! (.)(.) :-)

sidyadav




msg:323344
 5:01 am on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

> Are hackers really like that?

Are they? I'm not sure. I was watching Las Vegas the other night and the guy who was a hacker, you could say, was pretty lonely. Which brings up another question, are hackers really lonely? ;)

Because to what I imagine from watching all these things which show "the average hacker" it looks like a guy who is lonely, got bullied in school, spent all his life living with his parents, and is now sitting a dark room trying to destroy someonelse's business. Typical hacker ain't it?

Sid

outrun




msg:323345
 6:25 am on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have to say as corny as it is Im another that loves the Movies Hackers.

Because to what I imagine from watching all these things which show "the average hacker" it looks like a guy who is lonely, got bullied in school, spent all his life living with his parents, and is now sitting a dark room trying to destroy someonelse's business. Typical hacker ain't it?

I don't know if your joking or questioning but that is not a typical hacker, or it is not what the typical hacker is today. There are many more motives and lifestyles associated with hackers then that perspective.

regards,
Mark

GaryK




msg:323346
 6:43 am on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am not lonely, I was the bully in school, I moved out of my parent's house at an early age, but I am sitting in a cold dark room trying to hack websites; my own. To be a successful network administrator you have to learn to think like a hacker. ;)

greenleaves




msg:323347
 8:11 pm on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thats just holliwood for you...

The "bad guy" steriotype.
The "good guy" steriotype.

That is the reason I hate 99% of main streem movies.
Are spys really living that adventurous life? NO.
Are car thieves really living that adventurous life? NO.
Are police really living that adventurous life? NO.
Is anything in life that action packed and fake? NO.

But what the hell, lets portray "as if it were" and make a few mill on it.

victor




msg:323348
 8:27 pm on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Remember Hugh Jackman in Swordfish?

He's been kidnaped by the bad guys (John Travolta and Vinnie Jones) and is sat at a computer he's never seen before, having just got out of prison.

He's got a gun to his head and has one minute to prove his skills by breaking into a secure government installation, or they shoot him.

And to prove he can work under pressure there is a lady under the desk <providing further distraction>.

How is that so different to what we all do every day?

[edited by: lawman at 8:40 pm (utc) on Dec. 15, 2004]

kevinpate




msg:323349
 8:38 pm on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

<edit> over the top, even for me</edit>

Rosalind




msg:323350
 8:46 pm on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

How is that so different to what we all do every day?

I find the lives of perhaps Hollywood's most famous hackers, Neo and Trinity from The Matrix, have more in common with mine: "There is no spoon." Or any other clean cutlery.

Essex_boy




msg:323351
 9:53 pm on Dec 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Or any other clean cutlery - Yep know that feeling

bird




msg:323352
 12:24 am on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

where did this notion of a virtual world come from?

From the book "Neuromancer" by William Gibson, 1984.

grelmar




msg:323353
 6:12 pm on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Leaving the whole "Real definition of Hacker" question aside (I'm sure one of the hard core penguin heads in the crowd will cover that)...

"Wargames" showed, for Hollywood, one of the best depictions of a hacker going - some kid using a demon dialer to find potential connections, sitting in front of a computer, trying to figure out a password, and doing *gasp* research to figure it out. He even went to a library to research the software writer's life to get clues... Real life hackers spend weeks reading security forums looking for vulnerability discussions, dumpster diving looking for scraps of paper with bits of code and printed out account names and passwords, making social engineering phone calls posing as tech support trying to get people to say their passwords, studying Unix and Linux manuals....

Boring, tedious, time consuming stuff mostly for the severely Obsessive Compulsive.

Not very much "big screen" fodder in that.

As for the type of person that does it? Well, that's a pretty broad question.

Mostly, I think it's people who have a desperate "Need to Know" how something ticks, or just want to find something out that other people don't. There's a strong element of the "explorer" mentality with a lot of them. And many, MANY of them believe what they're doing is truly for the "greater good." - Sven Jaschan is a good example of this. He wrote Sasser and Netsky, a couple of cripplingly effective viruses. All the while thinking he was doing the world a favor (both viruses/woms sought out and destroyed spam sending worms and viruses) - PC World article [pcworld.com] that provides a lot of insight into the whole mess and the hacker mentality.

Then there's the minority of hackers who are just destructive, or profit oriented. Basically, they're no different from any other Vandal or Criminal - They just like the sound of breaking glass, or the jingle of coin in their pocket, and don't have the social conscience to care who they hurt in order to satisfy their own urges. Basically, bottom feeding scum.

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