The weekend is upon us! It’s the best time to grab a good book and get lost inside a great story. But not all of us have the time to read a novel; that’s where movies come in. So here are some movies that the InfoSec crowd will likely enjoy – either because of their good storytelling, or just because they made some funny cyber mistakes.
1. Sneakers (1992)
Computer hacker, Martin (Robert Redford), heads a group of specialists who test the security of various San Francisco companies. Martin is approached by two NSA officers who ask him to steal a newly invented decoder. Martin and his team discover that the black box can crack any encryption code, and could pose a huge threat if it were to land in the wrong hands.
2. Blackhat (2015)
After a Hong Kong nuclear plant and the Mercantile Trade Exchange in Chicago are hacked by unknown perpetrators, a federal agent (Viola Davis) proposes that the FBI work with China to find the cybercriminals responsible. The leader of the Chinese team, Chen Dawai, insists that convicted hacker Nick Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth) be released from prison to help with the investigation and hunt down the attackers.
3. 23 (2012)
The movie’s plot is based on the true story of a group of young hackers from Hannover, Germany (August Diehl, Fabian Busch). In the late 1980s, the orphaned Karl Koch invests his heritage in an apartment and a home computer. At first he dials up to bulletin boards to discuss conspiracy theories inspired by his favorite novel, R.A. Wilson’s “Illuminatus”; but soon, he and his friend David start breaking into government and military networks.
4. Who Am I (2014)
Benjamin, a young German computer whiz, is invited to join a subversive hacker group that wants to be noticed on the world stage.
5. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Cyborg federal agent Major Motoko Kusanagi (Atsuko Tanaka) trails “The Puppet Master” (Iemasa Kayumi), who illegally hacks into the minds of cyborg-human hybrids. Kusanagi’s pursuit of a man who can modify the identity of strangers leaves her pondering her own genetic makeup, and what life might be like if she had more human traits. *If you like this movie, try Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and Ghost in the Shell: Innocence.
- Hackers (1995)
Master hacker Dade Murphy, aka Zero Cool, aka Crash Override, has been banned from touching a keyboard for seven years after crashing over 1,500 Wall Street computers at the age of 11. Now keen to get back in front of a monitor, he finds himself in more trouble than ever.
7. WarGames (1983)
This one is a classic. High school student David Lightman (Matthew Broderick) unwittingly hacks into a military supercomputer while searching for new video games. After starting a game of Global Thermonuclear War, Lightman causes the supercomputer to activate the nation’s nuclear arsenal in response to his simulated threat as the Soviet Union. Once the clueless hacker realizes what he’s done, he, with help from his girlfriend (Ally Sheedy), must find a way to alert the authorities and stop the onset of World War 3.
- Swordfish (2001)
The CIA hires a special spy to gain access to “Swordfish”, a dark web world full of government secrets, stolen data, and criminals. His target is a hacker who stole $6 billion of unused government funds. This movie has a great soundtrack, written by Paul Oakenfold.
- We Are Legion (2012)
This documentary follows the creation, spread, and activity of the Anonymous movement. It shows interviews with hacktivists and active Anon players, and reveals their mindset and objectives.
- Zero Days (2016)
This documentary reveals new information, assessments, and insights about the Stuxnet APT. It includes interviews with several industry leaders and government representatives, and presents some interesting thoughts about the age of sabotage-oriented APTs.