Five Most Ridiculous Computer Hacking Scenes From Movies

Posted: October 26, 2013 in Articles
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Computer Hacking ScenesHollywood has never been known for realistic and faithful recreations of real-life events, and computer hacking scenes are no exception.

From ridiculously futuristic pieces of technology to unrealistic time scales, audience members can quickly peg these erroneous cinematic representations as wildly fabricated. Here are some of the worst moments from Hollywood’s take on hacking.

1. Hackers

There are so many ridiculous hacking scenes in this movie that it’s difficult to choose just one. However, the first confrontation between Crash Override (Johnny Lee Miller) and Acid Burn (Angelina Jolie) has to be the worst. Miller’s character gains access to a TV station by conning a security guard into giving him the numbers off the top of a modem. What follows is just total absurdity. The characters battle over which program they’re going to make the TV station broadcast while visuals of messages like “virus uploading” randomly flash on the screen, looking more like an antiquated arcade game than anything to do with computer hacking. All the while the characters sling typed insults at each other, adding to the horrible dramatization.

2. Swordfish

In possibly one of the most ridiculous scenes ever written, Stanley Jobson (Hugh Jackman) is forced by Gabriel Shear (John Travolta) to crack an abandoned DEA slush—or reserve—fund. The scene in question has Jackman’s character hacking into the Department of Defense with a gun to his head in 60 seconds. Travolta’s character mocks Jackman and counts down the seconds while scantily-clad women attempt to distract Jackman. The scene ends with Jackman being unable to beat the clock. He winces as the gun against his head goes “click” revealing an empty chamber of bullets. Travolta laughs, turning his own computer screen towards Jackman and stating “I already did it!” As if 60 seconds would be more than enough time for a person to hack into the Department of Defense.

3. Goldeneye

Boris Grishenko (Alan Cumming) manages to hack into the Department of Defense and assures a co-worker that the American “slug-heads” will never detect him. When they do detect him seconds later, the computer screen shows a cartoon version of himself with the words “Send Spike” and then “Spike Sent” and then Boris exclaims “Spiked them!” He then goes on to tell the co-worker that his program seizes the phone line of whoever is tracing him and jams their modem so that they can’t hang up. The program traces back to Atlanta and he types, “Better luck next time, slug-heads” into a prompt. This scene is merely another horrible representation of an effortless hack into the US Department of Defense. If it were that simple, one would think it might happen more often.

4. The Core

Theodore “Rat” Finch (D.J. Qualls) is definitely one of the most amusing characters in The Core, a film based on the premise that the core of the earth stops spinning causing massive storms which will inevitably destroy the earth. Rat (as he insists on being called) is a hacker that Dr. Josh Keyes (Aaron Eckhart) utilizes in their efforts to save the world. In one especially ridiculous scene Qualls uses Eckhart’s cell phone, flattens out a gum wrapper, blows across the wrapper into the phone then hands it back to Dr. Keyes; telling him he now has free long distance forever. If only the advanced technology for such an innovation actually existed.

5. Skyfall

When the M16 team finally obtains Silva’s (Javier Bardem) laptop full of secrets, Q (Ben Whishaw) must hack into it. He goes about it while using words like “algorithms”, “encryptions”, and “asymmetries” in a completely nonsensical way. All of that isn’t even touching on the fact that actual hacking doesn’t involve 3D interfaces as the makers of Skyfall would like us to think.

Hollywood clearly doesn’t have much of a clue about what hacking is, or even what it should look like. At least it makes for a good laugh for those knowledgeable enough to decipher the difference.

Alex Faubel enjoys writing about business and technology in career-focused education programs.

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