Busting The Myths of Hollywood Hacking

Hacking in the movies is cool, no question. Completely inaccurate, but SO COOL.

Lately, it seems as though there is some story about hacking every day on the news. Both political parties are talking about it non-stop, there was the Wannacry virus that took the world by storm for a few days, and every Russian with a smartphone is now a hacker, if you believe what you read online.

All of these are important and deserve our attention. But I thought I’d play my own version of “Mythbusters” today and shed some light on what the world of hacking is actually like.

Let’s burst the bubble with our first keystrokes: hacking is really boring.

Ever watched an IT guy try to fix your computer? That’s what hacking looks like. Someone who types fast and moves between screens without needing a mouse. But for how long does that captivate your attention? You can’t follow what he is doing and you quickly get bored and open Instagram on your smartphone.


Here are some examples of Hollywood vs reality:

Sounds. If you think the clanging of annoying bells, or the sounds of a 1980s eran hard drive are real – they aren’t. Most of the time, the three sounds you hear are:

  • Keyboard keys being hit really fast
  • Profanity
  • Phones ringing

Presentation. Can you imagine filming hacking – you’d need two cameras — one on the “hacker,” and one on his computer screens. The only action shot is a slammed fist into the table, or the reverse – to raise a 5-hour energy drink. Give back the rest of your seat, because you’re only going to need the edge, am I right?

Firewall hacks. If you think when a firewall gets hacked it has some cool graphics or alerts, no, it doesn’t. Kind of like your wife asking you to pick up milk on the way home from work or your mother-in-law forwarding you a joke of the day, we get an email or a text message alert. In certain cases, a red bar will appear on our master monitor station.

That being said, hacker movies are fun to watch. What’s your favorite? Mine is “The Matrix,” because it challenges our perceptions on how we absorb knowledge. How Mr. Smith was a virus and Neo was the antivirus. Email your favorite to me at [email protected].