There has probably been enough drama involving cybersecurity and the movies lately with the recent Sony Pictures hacking incident, but Hollywood will aim for more straightforward entertainment when it releases “Blackhat” the movie early next year.
Directed by Michael Mann and starring Chris Hemsworth of “Thor” fame, the film is being produced by Universal Pictures and will debut on Jan. 16, 2015. The story line involves the U.S. government’s decision to release a jailed computer genius to take on those responsible for a series of devastating hacking incidents against several high-profile targets.
Although the concept of “Blackhat” the movie may sound like an uncomfortable reminder of a recent move by cybercriminals to shut down computer systems and release confidential information from Sony Pictures, audiences have dealt with this kind of thing before. Variety magazine compared the situation to the release of a movie about nuclear war that came out in the late ’70s, just as a real-life meltdown of a reactor occurred in Pennsylvania.
As a story on Engadget points out, there has been a surprisingly long history of movies involving cybercriminals and government security threats, with one of the earliest ones dating back nearly 20 years ago. The concept of an ace programmer gone rogue who later becomes a quasi-superhero has also become a standard Hollywood archetype across not only movies, but TV shows, as well. In that sense, “Blackhat” the movie carries on a well-established tradition.
The real challenge, Gizmodo argues, is for people making these kinds of movies to aim for a certain timelessness. Given how quickly technology changes, what looks like a highly sophisticated cyberattack today might look quaint or difficult to even comprehend by more advanced audiences a few years from now. Based on the trailers, however, “Blackhat” the movie seems to look more like a traditional action film than something out of an IT security conference.
Even if Mann’s film turns out to be a flop, this won’t be the last time Hollywood turns to cybersecurity for inspiration. Tech Times notes that society’s increased dependence on IT will only make it more relevant as the subject for such stories. Who knows? Maybe the hot film of 2016 will be about security threats involving a smartwatch instead.
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Shane Schick is a contributor for SecurityIntelligence.