If pop culture is to be believed, cybersecurity is hot property. Hacks and breaches not only dominate the real-world media but can be seen everywhere in TV and in the movies. These are popping up as plot devices, like in Homeland, or the focus of shows like CSI Cyber and Mr. Robot.
But what do industry professionals think of this? We took to Twitter in our first Tweetchat of 2016 to find out.
Q1: Is the increased focus on IT Security in pop culture positive for the industry?
There are good and bad sides to increased focus. Quentyn got things rolling by stating it was a good thing.
David Longenecker also agreed it was a good thing.
But not everyone was of the same opinion. Dr. Krypt3ia likened the increased visibility in pop culture with that of the CSI effect.
But he didn’t stop there, criticizing the actors from CSI Cyber keynoting at the upcoming RSA. This was a sentiment that Martin Fisher shared.
@J4vv4D I'd say it's responsible for turning the RSA Conference into a CyberComicCon...— Martin Fisher (@armorguy) February 4, 2016
Adrian Sanabria went against the grain with his opinion:
Q2: What’s your favorite from the recent crop of security-themed movies / TV shows & why?
Q3: Which movie / show do you think has the most accurate depiction of security / hacking?
Questions 2 and 3 ended up grouped together in their responses as often the show which people believed had the most accurate depiction of security and hacking was often their favourite.
There were some outliers, but the majority agreed Mr. Robot had the best depiction of security in a show.
@alienvault Mr. Robot is the only real contender.— Angel Hun (@SeraphimDomain) February 4, 2016
@alienvault Mr. Robot of course. But have seen some good depictions in "The Good Wife" eg ransomware— 3ncr1pt3d (@3ncr1pt3d) February 4, 2016
@alienvault Mr. Robot it's the best.. Though it has it's share of mistakes but it's close to real one.. Say 70%— wezmaster (@wezmaster) February 4, 2016
Q4: What’s the worst hacking scene ever depicted in a movie or TV show?
With so many contenders for bad hacking illustrated in movies such as Swordfish, Die Hard 4.0 or Blackhat, we were expecting a near infinite list of examples – and the variety of things that bug viewers is not small.
@alienvault War Games— Dale Ketcheson (@KetchesonDale) February 4, 2016
@alienvault why has nobody picked Swordfish?! Breaking RSA RC5 whilst ... Ahem ... GETTING SOME!— Warren Mercer (@SecurityBeard) February 4, 2016
However, head and shoulders above the rest, one particular scene from NCIS depicting two people using one keyboard to stop hackers earned the dubious honour of being the worst hacking scene depicted on TV.
@alienvault NCIS two morons banging on one keyboard— wezmaster (@wezmaster) February 4, 2016
Q5: Do you think movies / TV shows wrongly glamorize ‘blackhat’ hacking?
On one hand, creative licensing is to be expected from Hollywood. But do they go too far in their portrayal of blackhat hacking?
@alienvault I've been often asked, does the hack happen that quickly— Petri O. Koivisto (@petriokoivisto) February 4, 2016
Q6: Which actor would play you in a movie about YOUR security life?
We asked what actor people would like to see play them in the IT Security movie adaptation of their life. Most participants ended up recommending actors for each other.
@alienvault Mr. Bean— Kate Brew (@securitybrew) February 4, 2016
Q7: Which security / hacking film has had an influence on you & why?
Next up, we asked which movies or shows had the biggest impact on Security Professionals when they were young and trying to decide what they wanted to be when they were grown up.
@alienvault Sneakers. Wargames. Hackers.— Stephen Bonner (@stephenbonner) February 4, 2016
@alienvault hackers, got the feel right at that time— Quentyn Taylor (@quentynblog) February 4, 2016
@alienvault War Games - I wanted to be able to change my school grades....— James McQuiggan (@James_McQuiggan) February 4, 2016
@alienvault also office space.. Idea of stealing fractions of pennies.. Interesting lol— wezmaster (@wezmaster) February 4, 2016
@alienvault War Games, Hackers, and Real Genius. Real Genius may not be computer related really, but definitely a hacking/pranking movie!— Steve (@CowbellSteve) February 4, 2016
@alienvault sneakers— Petri O. Koivisto (@petriokoivisto) February 4, 2016
@alienvault I recorded Hackers off Showtime and wore out the tape.— D!S4$s£M8Le (@JohnnyVonRotten) February 4, 2016
Q8: have you seen people take security more seriously as a result of a movie / TV show?
Finally we sought to get some insight into whether or not the attitudes of those around us had changed as a result of more hackery being displayed in pop culture.
The results varied. Interestingly one person has been asked to hack personal information.
Others experienced a change on a more corporate level.
For some, it was more about a change in perception towards who a hacker is.
@alienvault now mr. Robot is setting another thing "hackers = socially degenerated / handicap genius"— wezmaster (@wezmaster) February 4, 2016
Davi Ottenheimer highlighted a more profound impact that pop culture hacking has had by way of influencing governments and policies.
@alienvault people took that movie so seriously (along with articles about punks, russian cyberthreat and 414s) generated anti-hacking law— davi - 德海 (@daviottenheimer) February 4, 2016
With that our hour was up. It was an enjoyable and educational tweet chat held at a frantic pace. Luckily, we were able to keep up with the tweets by getting sharing one keyboard between two people!
Join us again for another tweet chat in the future and thank you for your participation.