Thanks to Mr. Robot, hacking has finally received a respectable portrayal in the mainstream entertainment world, thanks to it mixing a mind-thriller with accurate-but-not-boring hacking scenes. Gone are the days of ridiculous hacking scenes featuring a mumbling Hugh Jackman and some animated cubes.
Or, are they? Enter I.T., a boringly-titled Pierce Brosnan movie about the dangers of the Internet of Things. Don't get turned away by that title though, check out the first line of the movie's blurb on IMDB:
"Mike Regan has everything he could ever want, a beautiful family and a top of the line smart house."
Doesn't exactly make me tingle with anticipation to know what happens next, but let's give it a chance. Let's check out the trailer:
Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Let's unpack it together.
There's a very rich guy who owns some kind of private airplane company. And the dude loves his smart home full of shiny "smart" (cough hackable cough) gizmos. Then there's the "IT guy," who saves his ass during a presentation and thus gets invited to the boss' place to "check the internet."
Big mistake, 'cause the IT guy, being a creepy IT guy like they all are, gets infatuated with the boss's teenage daughter. Then… hacking and stalking happens (oh yeah!).
"We've been hacked!" screams a company employee.
The I.T. guy is in control, threatening to hack the boss' planes and actually hacking his car and making it crash under a tunnel.
"Change everything, passwords, codes, secure this place!" screams a panicked Brosnan.
If this doesn't make you want to shell out $14 dollars on Sept. 23 when this movies comes out, I don't what will.
My colleague Nicholas Deleon compared it to a recent successful action movie: "It's like they said, 'Let's take Taken, take out all the cool stuff, and add some hacking shit.'"
In a Slack conversation, my fellow hacking scribe Joseph Cox seemed less thrilled, but optimistic: "I liked the bit where he did the hacking. Hacking is good."
It's unfair to judge a movie from a trailer, I'll admit. But the premises here are not good. First off, the IT guy being a creepy stalker is a boring and offensive trope.
Yes, the Internet of Things, which is a tech buzz expression that simply refers to connecting everything such as fridges, thermostats, and cars to the internet, is kind of a disaster right now in terms of security. (That is why people refer to it as the Internet of Shit.) Smart toys have been hacked, kid's GPS trackers— and even Teddy bears and Barbie dolls—have been proven to be vulnerable.
But there's a big difference between messing with somebody's smart lights (totally possible) and crashing a moving car (or plane) via the internet.
If anything, I can't wait for next year's worried CES attendees to ask Internet of Things vendors about this movie, wondering if their devices could be abused he same way "IT guy" does.
Long live the Internet of (Hackable) Things!