Friday, May 2, 2008

Hackers and Hollywood

I submitted a paper to the 3rd International Conference for Internet Technology and Secured Transactions and I'm pleased to say I just got word back that the paper has been excepted. The paper, whose title is "Hackers and Hollywood: Considering Filmic Cyberthreats in Security Risk Analysis", looks at the way computer hackers (really "crackers") are portrayed in movies to determine if that influnces the security policies of organisations.

Defining what exactly constitutes a hacker movie was the first step. To do this a large number of potential candidates movies were reviewed to determine whether or not they were truly hacker movies, and using Grounded Theory a series of guidelines were developed to explain why some movies were added and others rejected.

  • GUIDELINE 1: A hacker movie must feature a hacker in it, it is insufficient to have an act of hacking in the movie, the hacker must appear in the movie as being either the main protagonist or antagonist, or at least be a well-developed character with their hacking being integral to the plot.
  • GUIDELINE 2: Not all cyberpunk movies can automatically be considered as hacker movies.
  • GUIDELINE 3: Only Science Fiction movies that feature recognisable hacker scenarios should be included.
  • GUIDELINE 4: No animated movies will be considered.
  • GUIDELINE 5: No movies will be considered whose sole focus is cryptography.
  • GUIDELINE 6: No hacker documentaries will be considered, only movies.
Following this a list of 50 movies featuring a total of 60 hackers were compiled from the 1960s to the 2000s. And from here a general list of characteristics that hackers are most commonly portrayed with in movies was complied which was then compared with the reailty of hacking.

More detail here;

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