Saturday, 24 January 2015

Blackhat Movie Review

Blackhat movie review (with SPOILERS): It's been awhile since i did a movie review here and since this movie, with its title, about hacking, i think it's wise for me to write a thing or two (well probably more) about what i feel about it.

Blackhat movie poster

First off, just for general movie knowledge, when this movie was initially scripted there were a lot of protests within the industry about the synopsis that the American government is working with the Chinese government to tackle a foreign hacker while in fact, there's a huge friction between the two in the cyber war arena in the real world. (the latter was briefly mentioned in the movie)

The start of the movie was quite cool, we see a hacker clicking the Enter button and showed the movement of the data in a matrix-ial format from the computer right to the destination, a power plant. I enjoyed the first 10 mins of the movie as it showed the HMI (Human Machine Interface) of the SCADA systems and how it was hijacked. Those who know how Stuxnet works can relate to the movie since the RAT (remote access trojan) or 'virus' in this movie was probably inspired by the Stuxnet worm (where it was able to destroy many nuclear centrifuges causing it to be replaced and renewed costing millions of dollars) What a huge coincidence that i talked about this SCADA and Power Plants security talks last year.

Power Plant Meltdown from the Blackhat movie

HMI interface for a SCADA system

However, the way the things was handled by the US government and the Chinese government (cooperating with each other) was unrealistic. From the book, 'WORMS' by Mark Bowden, back when the famous Conficker virus was going on a rampage in the US, affecting millions of computers, the US government did not even bother to take further action especially when being educated that the Conficker has the ability to start a Cyber Pearl Harbor back in the days so to see that the US government providing assistance to the Chinese government was quite far fetched (but hey, who knows this movie could entice a possible cooperation between them). 

WORM by Mark Bowden

Everything went well until when they decided to kill the direction of the movie. Im not going to comment on this as i was utterly disappointed.. its like watching the latest Transformers scene in China...pointless! Chris Hemsworth, the hacker in the movie was somehow good at martial arts and even know how to use a gun better than the villains. (Seriously??? Now i missed Hugh Jackman in Swordfish). 

Swordfish the movie

My verdict: It was all positive hype in the first 30 mins until it went totally downhill the rest. Don't expect a Blackhat vs Blackhat cyber battle or a Die Hard 4.0 kind of vibe. The villains were lame and making the 90s movie Hackers way better than this.

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