KOLKATA: It is indisputable that hacking has become an integral part of our culture, for better or worse. People have realised that hack culture reflects innovation, technology, and potential, not just in the form of dangers.
Computer hacking was rarely dramatised in the past, but it is now far more common. As anticlimactic and drawn-out as real-world hacking can be, it is always wrapped up in a story in the media. Although Cinema’s portrayal of computer hackers is rarely true, the concept has inspired some of the best action films of all time.
The film industry portrays hacking in a variety of ways, so here are my top picks for the best films and series that embody the essence of hacking, computing, and cybersecurity, in no particular order.
1. MATRIX- The Matrix is without a doubt one of the most well-known sci-fi hacker films of all time. Neo, the protagonist, is a computer programmer who unwittingly realises that the entire universe, as he knows it, is nothing more than a computer programme. Unfortunately for humans, the design of the programme enslaves them. Neo and a tiny group of awake and conscious humanity manage to break free from the Matrix, but they are helpless in the face of the world’s programming.
2. DIE HARD- The thorn in the side of ‘exceptional thief’ Hans Gruber’s (Alan Rickman) criminal ambitions is New York officer John McClane (Bruce Willis). In an attempt to get away with a fortune from a Christmas-time bearer bond heist of a Los Angeles tower, Gruber employs a variety of measures, including hacking.
3. HACKERS- This film was an easy choice given on its title, but it was also important because it sought to depict what it perceived to be the hacking culture. It also popularised the terms “phone freaking,” “John Draper’s escapades,” and “hack the planet.”
4. LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD– The main character in this action-packed flick is up against some of the world’s smartest cyber terrorists. This gang can break into both public and government computer systems and launch a massive asset sale. To find the security specialist in charge of the scheme, he pairs up with an expert ex-NSA hacker.
5. THE SOCIAL NETWORK- The Social Network is a biographical film that tells the story of how Facebook came to be, focusing on its creator and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. With the help of his friend Eduardo, Mark Zuckerberg launches the social networking site Facebook. Despite the success of the company, he loses contact with a lot of people along the way. The bond between Saverin and Zuckerberg is shattered at the end of The Social Network.
6. UNDERGROUND: THE JULIAN ASSANGE STORY– Julian Assange is possibly the most well-known computer hacker in the world. Although the film was made without any influence from the Assange family or Wikileaks, Julian Assange thinks it’s a good movie. The film depicts Assange’s early hacking days as well as the Australian Police Force’s efforts to apprehend the enigmatic hacker.
7. SNEAKERS – Martin Bishop is the leader of a team of professionals who specialise in security system testing. His crew is drawn into a hazardous game when federal officials blackmail him into stealing a top-secret black box. Sneakers get their name from a slang term for hi-tech wizards, and its message is that strong data collecting agencies are eroding people’s right to privacy.
8. 23– Karl Koch, a teenage hacker, starts seeing the number ’23’ everywhere in this book adaptation. He continues his investigation and discovers a global conspiracy. To obtain more information, the hacker enlists the assistance of a student to hack into the worldwide data network. Karl becomes insane after getting engaged with narcotics and hacking into Chernobyl.
9. THE SOCIAL DILEMMA- Silicon Valley tech gurus are warning about the dangers of social networking, which Big Tech is using to deceive and influence people. Several software specialists have addressed how social media has progressed from a resource to better connect people to a scourge that has resembled an imminent crisis.
10. THE SNOWDEN- Edward Snowden, an NSA employee, struggles with the decision to disclose confidential data to the press after finding that the agency is illegally spying on ordinary Americans. When Edward Snowden decides to release sensitive material, he is labelled a traitor by some, a hero by others, and a wanted man by others.