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On June 24, USA Network aired the premiere of its new show “Mr. Robot.” The program centers around Elliot (Rami Malek), a self-alienating corporate cybersecurity engineer. By day, Elliot protects the large corporation he despises from cyberattacks, but when the workday ends, he delves into the world of vigilante hacking. Elliot is eventually recruited by a “hacktivist” group to bring down the company for which he works, presenting him with a ethically challenging decision. The main story arc is centered around the moral ambiguity of “hacktivism” and how it effects Elliot’s life.
On June 24, USA Network aired the premiere of its new show “Mr. Robot,” which may provide cybersecurity professionals with insight into the hacking community.
What can Elliot teach cybersecurity professionals about hackers?
In a report on hacker profiling, SANS Institute stated that knowing and understanding your enemy was crucial to beating them. “Mr. Robot” gives cybersecurity professionals the rare opportunity to study “hacktivists” and understand the fine line between white hat and black hat hacking.
In the show, Elliot’s hyper-intelligence plays a vital role in his hacking. His genius makes it difficult for him to connect to the people in his life. He’s alienated and misunderstood, and as a result, he uses cybercrime as a way to connect with people without truly having to engage with them. Just like Elliot, some cybercriminals use hacking as a means to connect with the world around them. Member of real-life hacktivist group Anonymous, Gregg Housh, said he knew people that were almost exactly like Elliot. It is possible that this groundbreaking television series will become the microscope through which cybersecurity professionals can study hackers to better prepare defend themselves against them.
“‘Mr. Robot’ gives cybersecurity professionals the rare opportunity to study ‘hacktivists.'”
How accurate is ‘Mr. Robot’?
Viewers from various hacking communities praise the show for its accurate portrayal and attention to technical details. Jaime Cochran, best known for being featured in “The Hacker Wars” documentary, pointed out that the representation of hackers had been slightly dramatized for the purpose of entertainment, but it was still the most accurate depiction to date. The show’s writers are careful to implement precise industry language, and the characters all use real software programs to conduct their hacking.
The impact of the show
One of Cochran’s group members stated that “Elliot represents every [chief information officer’s] nightmare situation.” A highly intelligent individual with a gift for technology and disenchantment with the corporate world presents a potential cybersecurity disaster. The show generates further awareness for the growing need of well-trained information security professionals.
“Mr. Robot” has already earned 9.4 of 10 stars on IMDB and was just recently renewed for a second season, so cybersecurity engineers and those interested in that career field can continue watching and learning from the breakout hit.