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Information Security on the Silver Screen

Information Security on the Silver Screen

Being an information technology and security professional (some may say nerd or geek) I love to watch movies and shows that have a strong element of technology in them. Especially hacking. I love movies that include hackers and hacking and servers and mainframes and cyberattacks and on and on. No matter how bad and ridiculous they are and that’s pretty much every movie that includes it.

Ridiculous? Every movie about hacking? Yes.

Most movies and TV shows make it seem like a simple press of a button or some banging on a keyboard will let you be able to access a confidential server, send a virus, trace a bad guy, or blow up a power station. That’s not how it works at all! Better yet, all the server rooms are dead quiet. Have you ever been in a server room? It’s not quiet…

The game I like to play when I watch these movies is this: If the hacker or attacker was trying to break into my company, would they succeed? Let’s discuss a few scenarios and see some ways to stop the bad guys.

Scenario 1: Hacker sweet talks his way into my office during business hours, finds a computer, inserts a USB drive, runs a program, and takes over our network.


  • Keep doors to office locked at all times and employ badge system
  • Make all visitors show ID and be escorted at all times
  • Have a screen saver time out so computers won’t be unlocked
  • Block USB drives
  • Prevent users from running unauthorized programs

Scenario 2: Hacker creates a diversion for the security guard and then sneaks into the office after hours to hack into computers.


  • Motion alarms after hours
  • Everything from scenario 1

Scenario 3: Hacker tries to guess password for an account by trying different combinations or using an old login from an employee who no longer works there


  • Lock accounts after 3 unsuccessful attempts. This will stop most attempts at “brute force” guessing
  • Use strong passwords (enforce long passwords with upper case, lower case, numbers, and symbols)
  • Make sure passwords are changed frequently
  • Make sure old accounts are deactivated immediately upon separation or automatically after inactivity

Almost all of the time, a simple security measure would stop most of the attacks portrayed in the movies! Most of the prevention measures above require no money to implement so make sure your information security program is up to date. Next time you see a hacker on TV or in a movie, see if they could get past your security.

By: Michael Thomas   December 3, 2018     Uncategorized


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