Cybersecurity Lessons From Pop Culture

Hacking in Hollywood has become increasingly popular throughout the past 30 or so years in film. Hacking is portrayed as mysterious, suspenseful and ridiculously fast. In movies and TV, hackers usually type at an unprecedented rate and break into the government’s top secret files, while in real life, hackers are ordinary people. They roam the streets, spend time in public places waiting for you to fall for their fake wifi networks and gain access to your devices. The hacking scenes in film involve lines of code rapidly moving on a computer screen.

The reality is, hackers have to spend time and energy researching what they want to hack and the best approach. Since hacking and cybersecurity has become a frequent topic of conversation in the past few decades, Panda Security has put together a visual on cybersecurity lessons from pop culture. They break down the possibility of hacking in some of the most classic hacking scenes, from Ferris Bueller hacking his school modem, to Stanley from Swordfish hacking the Department of Defense in under 60 seconds. 

They also include what pop culture can teach us about cybersecurity. Like Allsafe, the cybersecurity firm in Mr. Robot uses two-factor authentication to protect the company’s data. In Ex Machina, they demonstrate a data breach in smartphone cameras. This instance actually took place in real life, where an Android app, Pegasus, was designed to spy on users using their smartphone cameras.

Of course, there’s also the completely unrealistic scenes as well. In this infographic, Panda Security features the infamous NCIS scene where Abby gets hacked and types aimlessly to “defend” her computer from the attack. They also feature the scene in Jurassic Park when Ariana miraculously hacks the entire Jurassic Park system in a matter of seconds. For more Hollywood hacking and cybersecurity scenes and whether they are possible, check out the visual below.

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