The worst examples of hacking on TV

The portrayal of hackers in movies and TV shows bothers me. Scenes involving hackers need to look futuristic and cool to capture audiences’ attention, and the dialogue needs to sound impressive, jargon-heavy and, well, right. I know that. Of course I do.

Although I don’t know a great deal about hacking, I do know enough to spot a Hollywood hacker when I see one – and it usually ruins the scene for me.

Below, I’ve listed four of the worst depictions of hackers in movies and TV shows, which have left me unable to enjoy the rest of the drama.

CSI uses its secret weapon: a GUI

I never caught the end of this episode, but thanks to the team’s use of a Visual Basic-created GUI interface I imagine the killer was swiftly caught. After all, what chance would a psychopath stand against simple graphics?

Four hands = double typing speed

It’s a well-known hacking fact that if you type superfast, you’re the world’s best hacker. Now, imagine you had someone else hacking with you at the same time, on the same keyboard…

Thank god he unplugged the monitor just in time.

A Rubik’s cube that’s fighting back

Nerdy guy? Check. Massive screen? Check. 3D rendered moving graphic that displays encrypted code which, when unencrypted, turns out to be a map of London? Sigh, check.

You wouldn’t download a plane

The airport network is infected with malware; all the planes are going to crash… unless, that is, a super hacker can restore the backup of the entire network, even though he’d have to download it from one of the planes already in the sky. I’m laughing already. Just watch.

So, what have we learnt? Not a lot.




  1. Peter Liggett May 2, 2015
  2. nick balestrieri May 1, 2015
  3. dekuashe May 1, 2015
  4. pbulteel April 30, 2015
    • Lewis Morgan May 1, 2015