10 Movies And TV Series That Cybersecurity Techies Must Watch
By: Benjamin Roussey
Movies and TV shows often mirror (and sometimes even foreshadow) many things in the real world (not Star Wars The Force Awakens though – can we get our money back?!), including cybersecurity-related occurrences and developments.
Although not all of them are 100 percent accurate, some movies and TV shows have provided great insight into the world of hacking and even predicted trends in the field.
With that said, in this article, we’ll create a list of some of the best movies and TV shows about hacking and other cybersecurity topics.
If you are a noob to cybersecurity, these movies can make the subject quite fascinating, while experts will surely find then interesting.
The Conversation (1974): This is one of the highly rated movies with a cybersecurity theme from the seventies. The Conversation starring Gene Hackman (Harry Caul) follows a surveillance expert who faces a moral dilemma after he finds out that a couple he’s using technology to spy on may be the victims of a murder plot.
Caul is particularly incensed to take action because his previous case which led to the death of three people.
WarGames (1983): This is another cybersecurity classic. The movie stars Matthew Broderick as David Lightman who hacks a US military supercomputer while searching online for new video games.
He unwittingly activates the country’s nuclear arsenal. With the help of his girlfriend, Lightman must find a way to stop the launch of nuclear weapons and avert a global crisis. There is a reboot of this movie titled ‘WarGames: The Dead Code,’ which was released in 2008.
Though this is a little off since America’s nuclear weapons are not connected to the Internet.
Hackers (1995): This movie, starring Jonny Lee Miller (Dade Murphy) and the amazing Angelina Jolie (Kate Libby), is about a group of high school hackers involved in a plot to steal millions from a corporation (a little lazy of them – people always trying to cut corners).
They uncover a virus created by a former hacker (Fisher Stevens as Eugene Belford) to steal money from his employers.
With the plan exposed, Belford accuses the teenagers of being behind the plot. Dade and Kate must help to free their friend from the police while keeping under the radar of the authorities and stopping Belford’s sinister plot.
Firewall (2006): This popular movie follows the actions of a security expert Jack Stanfield (played by Harrison Ford). Stanfield must find a way to infiltrate the theft-proof computer system he created, and steal $100 million to pay kidnappers to free his family.
Not too smart since they may just hold out for even more!
Untraceable (2008): This movie is about a serial killer who streams the murder of his victims online. The number of hits the video gets determines the speed at which his victims die.
The movie follows Special Agent Jennifer Marsh (played by the pretty Diane Lane) who is part of the FBI Cyber Crimes Division. Marsh must find a way to stop the cruel activities of the serial killer as his murders become more popular.
Algorithm (2014): This movie, starring Raphael Barker, is about a hacker who breaks into a government program and discovers that authorities are spying on people. This inspires him to start a revolution.
Many people have criticized aspects of this movie as being a bit unrealistic (for example, how a hacker can easily gain access to a government database). However, it is still fun to watch.
The Imitation Game (2014): This movie is set in 1939, and is centered around mathematician Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) who is recruited by British intelligence agency MI6 to build a device to decipher Nazi codes.
Although Turing and his team succeed and are celebrated, he is later labeled as gay and imprisoned by the authorities. This is much better than Iron Man II and Jurassic World!
Open Windows (2014): This movie, starring Elijah Wood (Nick Chambers) and Sasha Grey (Jill Goddard), is about a man who wins a date with his favorite actress but the date doesn’t come to fruition.
Instead, a man posing as Goddard’s manager sends him a link to spy on her. Goddard’s alleged manager, who turns out to be a master hacker called Nevada, lures Chambers into committing a series of crimes. In the end, Chambers must stand up against Nevada to save Goddard.
Mr. Robot (2015): This TV show starring Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson is about a cybersecurity expert who is recruited to join a group of hacktivists named “fsociety” to take down corporations that are running the world.
Alderson, who is suffering from depression and social anxiety disorder, is torn between working with fsociety and performing his duties as a cybersecurity engineer.
Blackhat (2015): This incredible and cutting edge movie is about a convicted hacker Nick Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth). Hathaway is recruited by a joint US-China team to investigate the people behind major cyber attacks in Chicago and Hong Kong.
During the investigation, Hathaway discovers that the plot is much bigger and much more sinister than anyone expected. This was one of the best movies of 2015 – much better than Spiderman or Vice! Blackhat came out during the same weekend as American Sniper which was a mistake – that’s what hurt it in the box office.
These are some of the most exciting movies (Blackhat is by far the best) that depict the intricacies of cybersecurity and hacking.
Of course, the depictions are not entirely accurate – some things are exaggerated and made more dramatic. Nonetheless, they may inspire a new area of research for cybersecurity experts and may also inspire the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.