This past weekend, I got a chance to watch the 4th installment in the Die Hard series, Live Free or Die Hard. I hadn’t seen the whole thing end-to-end before, only parts of it. It was nice to finally get a chance to see the whole thing.
Overall, I like it. It’s so far over the top that it’s completely unbelievable… but that’s the point. It’s supposed to be unbelievable. A jet plane flying around the city at low speeds and hovering like a helicopter in between parts of a freeway? John McClane getting hit by a car and walking away? Bad guys falling 20 feet onto concrete below and not even suffering a limp? Whatever.
But what about the basic premise of the story? In case you haven’t seen it, at the beginning of the film, various government agencies experience a major shutdown. Hackers infiltrate the computer systems of the FBI, departments of transportation, nuclear facilities… well, nearly every agency in the United States and they proceed to shut it down. The villain behind it is a disgruntled employee of the Department of Homeland Security who is a brilliant programmer and security expert. After the events of September 11, he warned his superiors that the nation’s cyber infrastructure was vulnerable to attack. Rather than listen to him, he was ignored and/of vilified, and fired from his job. To get revenge, the villain plots a major hacking operation to demonstrate to his superiors that they should have listened to him; this proves that the nation’s infrastructure is vulnerable. In reality, this is all a smokescreen as it is a diversionary attempt to steal billions, possibly trillions, of dollars of wealth. In the hacking world, the villain would be classified as a cyber warrior.
Of course there are some things in the movie that are completely unrealistic like the physical stunts above. Furthermore, why would the bad guys hack into a hacker’s computer and wait for them to hit the Delete key that detonates some C4, rather than them executing the explosion remotely? That seems a little inefficient to me.
But that’s not the question I want to address. What I want to ask is whether or not the nation’s cyber infrastructure is really as vulnerable to attack as the movie makes it out to be.
My answer? Unlikely. There are a couple of problems with this scenario:
I could probably name more problems, but this will do. But like I said, this movie isn’t real life, it’s entertainment. It’s not supposed to be realistic. And for what it was worth, it was a good ride. I liked it.
Thats impressive, U watched it from a security pro point of view whereas I just watched it for the thrill, altho being a security pro myself I shud have come up with a few flaws myself.
Creating redundant backups of important data is a no brainer, everybody knows this, even a 5 year old.
i think the onstar working after all the networks are down is a big flaw
Outer space computer systems must not be hackable yet