I like to consider myself a good programmer (not the best, but definitely above the average, and yes, this may be the Dunning-Kruger effect). I'm (very) good in a number of fields, but watching movies always makes me doubt my programming skills.

There are just a few movies (that I watched) that contain ridiculous hacking scenes

The Independence Day

IMHO, this is the "greatest" hacking scene ever. They figured so quickly how alien computers work, see it's great that aliens have Intel processors too :)

Fast & Furious 7

In F&F 7 there's a too pretty hacker girl (I don't want to be rude or sexist, but the good programmer girls that I know are not that pretty :D ) that invented a device that connects to all phones, surveillance cameras and other devices that have a camera, a mic and an internet connection and it's able to find almost instantly any person using voice and face recognition. I don't want to talk more about this, it's just ridiculous and if you didn't see the movie yet, good for you!

Random videos from internet

You need to see this video, it's funny because of two things:

  • It's about a jiu-jitsu fight between Keenan Cornelius and Xande Ribeiro and the concept it's pretty cool
  • But the relevant part for this article is the hacking scene (between 0:35 and 1:03) which is absolutely hilarious for someone that knows something about programming because he writes HTML, XML and some C for a graphic thing to gain control over a satellite and then he finds the IP of the Youtube commenter which is !! (an IP from the private IP family with which he could not get to the internet)


There are a lot of other horrible scenes here and here. There are, however, good examples too.

Matrix Reloaded

In Matrix Reloaded, Trinity uses nmap to scan the ports of the power grid server and then exploits a vulnerability in the OpenSSH v1 that was quity popular at the time (SSH CRC-32 Compensation Attack) to gain access.

Tron Legacy

In Tron Legacy, in the OS 12 (which is a Solaris based OS) presentation scene, after Sam Flynn makes a player with a dog barking appear on the screen, Edward Dillinger uses ps with grep to find which process that is and a kill -9 to stop it. Unfortunately, the only video with the full scene is in italian, but you can see the hacking at 1:58

The sad thing that these realistic scenes are way too few (or maybe I watch way too many stupid movies) and I think that this state of things is not only absurd, but also harmful. Normal people (non-programmers) have unrealistic expectations from us, they think that programming/hacking is some kind of black magic with cool graphic effects on multiple screens, they expect us with just a few keystrokes to break into remote systems.