Whenever hackers are portrayed in movies it most often involves a 3D fly-through user interface with what would appear to be advances mathematical formulas, binary numbers and what not flying across the screen.
However, the truth is that most hackers would never go anywhere near a GUI. In fact, most break-ins into computer systems are done through social engineering by tricking personnel into giving out sensitive information such as usernames and passwords. In any case, here are three movies that, at least to some extent, actually *get it*.
Although this movie is full of 3D fly-through interfaces and crazy formulas, it does contain aspects such as social engineering, dumpster diving, shoulder surfing, and a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack. A 20 year old hacker-Angelina Jolie is just a bonus.
This movie is also sometimes referred to as “Takedown” or “Hackers 2″. It is based on the story of hacker Kevin Mitnick. The most realistic parts of this movie are Mitnick’s social engineering skills and the use of a supercomputer to break the encypted “Contempt” file. Although the latter is not 100% realistic, it could have been done by exploiting a flaw in the crypographic algorithm.
The Matrix Reloaded
This my personal favourite. In this movie Trinity uses the network mapper and port scanner tool Nmap to locate a vulnerable ssh server in the power grid control system and then exploits the SSH1 CRC32 exploit (which was a real security vulnerability) to gain high-level access to the system. Nmap also appearns in other movies including “Bourne Ultimatum” and “Die Hard 4″.