Cybersecurity is everywhere. And as the world grows more high-tech, so do our movies.

Spy, espionage, and heist movies aren’t exactly new to the silver screen, but Hollywood’s
approach to cybersecurity has most definitely faced a huge learning curve.

Here, we’ll take a look at a selection of movies that attempted to represent modern
cybersecurity measures, and assess which ones were a hit (and which were a flop).

Cybersecurity in Unthinkable (2010)

Terrorists threats. Nuclear bombs. Samuel L. Jackson.

Now you’ve heard everything you need to hear about the plot of Unthinkable.

​​The story follows a black-ops interrogator, played by Samuel L. Jackson, who is brought
in to question a suspected terrorist, played by Michael Sheen, about the location of three
nuclear bombs set to detonate in major American cities.

And while it’s not strictly about cybersecurity, this movie contains an incredible scene
depicting a cybersecurity professional disarming a nuclear bomb using a computer

Our Take:

The part we found most “unthinkable” was that someone used Microsoft Excel (yes, really)
to disarm a nuclear bomb.

You didn’t even need to watch it on a movie screen* to see that he was typing gibberish
into an Excel spreadsheet – they didn’t make any attempt to hide it.

Treat yourself – it’s about six seconds into this clip.

*Which you couldn’t anyway, as it was released straight to video.

Request a DemoCybersecurity in The Italian Job (2003)

Reboots. Love them or hate them, The Italian Job has everything – Venice, gold heists, and
of course, car chases.

In case you missed it, or the 1969 original with Sir Michael Caine, the plot of this movie
revolves around a group of skilled thieves who plan to steal gold bars from a safe in Venice,
followed by an elaborate plan to escape with their loot.

The later movie stars big names like Mark Wahlberg, Donald Sutherland, Edward Norton,
and Charlize Theron, and culminates in an exhilarating car chase through the streets of Los

And it’s during this scene that hackers bypass cybersecurity to infiltrate the city’s traffic
light system and escape their pursuers.

Our Take:

We can’t comment on how accurate this scene is, as we’re never shown the attack vector
used to break into the city’s traffic light system.

But what it does show is the chaos that would result if a bad actor were able to take over
such critical infrastructure.

(And scarily, it’s apparently quite easy to do.)

Cybersecurity in Blackhat (2015)

This action thriller revolves around a cybercrime investigation that uncovers a global
conspiracy involving cyberterrorism and high-stakes hacking.

Chris Hemsworth plays a blackhat hacker, hired to investigate a cyberattack on a Chinese
nuclear power plant. A mysterious hacker has exploited vulnerabilities in the plant’s
computer systems, causing a meltdown.

So the FBI join Chris Hemsworth’s character to track the hacker across the globe, from LA
to Hong Kong and Jakarta, pursuing him in a race against time before he unleashes more
devastating cyberattacks.

This movie is widely regarded as one of the most accurate depictions of hacking in cinema,
and shows how vulnerable OT systems can be in the wrong hands.

Our take:

In our opinion, we have to agree that this is probably the most accurate representation we
have of actual cyberattacks in OT cybersecurity today.

It’s swapped the notion of fast-typing, oddball-computer-nerd hackers for a more realistic
approach that relies on human error, like downloading infected files or misusing removable

Even the Los Angeles Times has weighed in to say that the hacking details in Blackhat are
accurate. And who are we to disagree?

Bonus: Cybersecurity in NCIS

Alright, so it’s not a movie. But it is one of the most popular TV shows ever made, so it’s fair
game for us.

And while it doesn’t deal specifically with OT, we had to include the worst example of
hacking in the history of TV. Just see for yourself.

Two people typing on the same keyboard at the same time?

Random windows popping up all over the screen?

Stopping the attack by unplugging the monitor?

Complete with our favorite line of the whole scene – “Isolate the node and dump it on the
other side of the router” – we couldn’t have asked for a worse representation of
cybersecurity in media.

But hey, that’s show business!

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