As someone who uses MORE than one password for the different websites I visit, I like to think of myself as an expert on security. As a result, it drives me nuts when I see the way they deal with security codes in the movies. And to see how the whole concept was born, we need to go back to 1983’s Wargames and the secret nuclear launch codes.
So, you can clearly see that the super computer has guessed SOME of the numbers. Because in 1983 movies, you could guess a password like you were playing Wheel of Fortune. If you got ONE thing right, they would turn it around. How nice of them. Of course, that sort of also means that it really wouldn’t take long to hack someone’s password. Especially since you only have to take each spot and try A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-0 and you are guaranteed to get it. But the computer hacking itself is apparently as dumb as the one it is hacking because it just keeps spraying things around all random and . a? no. A? no. A? no! Fine….
So we know they aren’t too smart. But the folks at NORAD weren’t done being stupid with this one. No no they weren’t. Because the 20 foot screen that was showing the secret nuclear missile launch password was not enough. They also had:
Yes. By all means. Don’t write the password down on a post it and stick it to your monitor (did they even have post it notes back then?). Make the password a PART OF THE MACHINE. And write what the thing does on the top of it, too. I am not sure what ADN means but given how stupid they have been up to this point I assume it it supposed to say “AND”. I’m not going to spoil the movie for you but I am going to say that the rest of the stuff the computer does in the movie is much more impressive. Check it out if you have never seen it. And remember that kids back then really were afraid we were going to get nuked. And it wasn’t silly.
But that was then. This is now! In 2013 the movie Olympus has Fallen featured a very modern twist on computer codes. When Wargames was made there was no Internet or anything. Now we have had thirty years to improve how we deal with this kind of thing. You don’t ever see a site that says: your password must be six characters long. Now you need to put in capitals and small letters and pound signs (all my passwords end with :### which will make sense if you read it out loud) and numbers and all sorts of crap. So Olympus Has Fallen can capitalize on all of that and make a movie with password hacking that we can relate to. At least start out with 00000001 and then do 00000002 you know? And take a second to actually test to see if the password works. You know, submit it? Last I checked, if I just jingle my keys in front of my door it won’t open.
So let’s see how the future has treated Government computer security.