Real Hackers Praise the Authenticity of “Blackhat”
Director Michael Mann‘s latest effort, Blackhat, received a less-than-complimentary review from our own Brian Salisbury. While the characters seem less than authentic, apparently Mann’s attention to detail has earned the attention and praise of real hackers.
Parisa Tabriz, the head of Google’s Chrome security team, praises a scene in Blackhat where a network engineer played by actress Wei Tang and her partner, played by Chris Hemsworth, are able to hack into a bank when Wei simply convinces a security guard to plug a USB drive into the bank’s computer.
“It’s not flashy,” Tabriz says of the scene, “but it’s something real criminals have tried – and highlights the fundamental security problems with foreign USB drives.”
Tabriz helped organize a screening of Blackhat for 200-plus security specialists from all corners of the web – from Google and Facebook to Apple and Twitter – and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
During the post-screening Q&A with Mann, Hemsworth and Wei, one expert claimed, “These are probably the most plausible hacking scenes I have seen in a movie.” Though they joked that their jobs rarely required them to beat down seven guys in a Korean restaurant.
Security consultant Mark Abene, who has done prison time for hacking, even commented, “The technology – and the disasters – in the film were real, or at least plausible. I wouldn’t call it a hacker movie. It was a story about cyberterrorism – and hacking played into the story – but that was part of a bigger picture.”
Mann worked closely with Kevin Poulsen, a contributing editor at WIRED, in ensuring the authenticity of the film, and apparently it paid off. Even if the characters fall a little flat, Mann at least succeeded in ensuring his film looked authentic.
Blackhat opens nationwide today.