As discussion and focus on cyber security topics in the industry has increased, naturally Hollywood is taking advantage of this mysterious theme with a slew of TV shows and movies portraying this theme. Four TV shows debuted just last year that portray cyber hacking and security at its peak, but many are wondering how accurate these shows really are.
Here’s a quick break down of last year’s American cyber security TV shows based on their accuracy:
“CSI: CYBER is a drama inspired by the advanced technological work of real-life Cyber Psychologist Mary Aiken. Special Agent Avery Ryan heads the Cyber Crime Division of the FBI, a unit solving illegal activities that start in the mind, live online, and play out in the real world. She knows firsthand how today’s technology allows people to hide in the shadows of the Internet and commit serious crimes of global proportion. Working with Ryan is the new Director of Next Generation Forensics, D.B. Russell, a civilian specialist with vast knowledge of traditional forensics with cutting-edge advancements to help hunt down the most dangerous cyber criminals. Also on the team are FBI Agent Elijah Mundo, a forensic expert; Daniel Krumitz, an introverted tech; Brody Nelson, a former black hat hacker who chose to work for the FBI; and Raven Ramirez, a tech who is an expert in social media, cyber trends and international relations.
While other agents search for criminals in dark homes and alleys, Ryan and her team search the “dark net,” a place deep in the bowels of the Web where criminals are anonymous, money is untraceable and where everything is for sale with just a keystroke.”
Reality: Rather than combating cyberwarfare attacks and busting torrent sites for copyright infringement, the CSI Cyber team is out solving grandiose murders, bombings, and plane hijackings. The cyberattacks that are making headlines in real life aren’t typically about murders through technology, but rather fairly basic theft with major real-world consequences.
Secure360’s accuracy score: 2 out of 5 stars
“Sense8 is a high-concept TV series from the Wachowskis (the siblings who gave us the philosophical cyberpunk masterpiece ‘The Matrix’) and J Michael Straczynski of ‘Babylon 5.’ It spotlights eight individuals around the world who share a psychic connection allowing them to communicate and even share unique skills such as combat, acting, driving and medicine. One of the eight is played by Jamie Clayton, whose back-story incidentally includes a past as a hacker, convicted of a hacking crime under the age of 18 to take the fall for an older friend. When Clayton’s character decides to put her hacking skills to use to move the show’s plot forward, she calls up that old friend for some equipment. The scene features a van full of hacker hardware, and the two characters have a very colorful conversation about said equipment.”
Reality: They used most of the technology and security terms in a way that makes sense and are actual hacking tools. However, once these tools are obtained and set up, Clayton’s character has “near wizard-like powers”, able to hack into any computer system anywhere on the planet with little notice or preparation time.
Secure360’s accuracy score: 3 out of 5 stars
“MR. ROBOT is a contemporary and culturally resonant psychological thriller that follows Elliot, a young programmer who works as a cyber-security engineer by day and as a vigilante hacker by night. Elliot finds himself at a crossroads when the mysterious leader of an underground hacker group recruits him to destroy the firm he is paid to protect. Compelled by his personal beliefs, Elliot struggles to resist the chance to take down the multinational CEOs he believes are running and ruining the world.”
Reality: Since its first pilot was uploaded to Youtube, critics have been praising the hacker thriller Mr. Robot for the depth of its acting, its beautiful cinematography, and its attention to detail in portraying hacking and hackers. Even a member of secretive hackers network Anonymous has praised the show’s realism.
Sam Esmail, show creator said, “We only adhere to hacks that have happened that we’ve researched. The cell phone hacking scene was so realistic, one viewer was able to identify the software and confirm that yes, we may have seen a real phone being hacked in the show. Mr. Robot excels in its realism in that not every hack works, and it isn’t afraid to depict the time-consuming preparations needed for hacking operations.”
Secure360’s accuracy score: 5 out of 5 stars!
Have you watched Mr. Robot or any of the other cyber security themed shows on TV? What are your thoughts on the accuracy and relatability of these shows? Unfortunately, Hollywood does not always understand the seriousness of cyber attacks and security. Secure360 offers many articles on security threat and preparedness that can help you and your business stay prepared in real life.