Movies and TV love to show a fast pace hacking scene, where the hacker is pounding away at the keyboard and files are disappearing left and right. Luckily, the Hollywood version of cyber-attacks is hilariously off the mark. Here are five times Hollywood got cybersecurity wrong:
Myth 1: You can hack into a mainframe over the internet.
Hollywood likes to show a website as the facade of a giant database of confidential records. This is just not true. A company may have a database with username information that is accessible through the internet, but their essential documents aren’t going to be kept in any public-facing database.
Myth 2: Hacking requires fancy, cool software.
Hollywood loves to glamourize hacking applications. I see a lot of skulls and crossbones. The truth is hacking software look more like something boring you run on a web browser. The endless Matrix green text looks cool, but the human brain does a lot better with something more accessible to read, like a terminal.
Myth 3: Hacking requires lightning reflexes.
A lot of movies show hackers furiously typing on the keyboards and moving at the speed of light. Hollywood loves to show hackers and targets dueling one another. For example, the attacker is firing viruses into the target’s system, and the hero is racing to cut off access in real time. In reality, most hacking tools are fire and forget. A more realistic scenario is a hacker picking the right tool, pressing “start”, and then, going off to grab a drink.
Myth 4: The naked eye can solve encryption.
There’s this scene in Skyfall (2012) where James Bond recognizes a word in encrypted data. As a result, everything else gets decrypted. That is impossible. Humans can’t decode encrypted data without the help of computers.
Myth 5: Hackers are super geniuses.
In movies, a hacker’s portrayal is often one of a genius. It doesn’t take years of knowledge to make an everyday hacker. Hacking is a trade, like carpentry. Don’t get me wrong, real-life hacking and exploiting data is hard, but it is a learnable skill.
While it is fun to poke holes into Hollywood’s depiction of cyber-attacks, the threat of being hacked is at an all-time high. It’s essential that you take business’ cybersecurity seriously. Remember, your company data is your MOST vital asset.