6 Best Hacking movies to Watch if you Work in Cyber Security
Who said studying has to be about books and passing tests? Yes, there’s a time for knuckling down to study, but there’s also always room for getting inspired in other ways.
Must-see Hacker Movie List
Whether you’re still toying with the idea of switching to a cyber security career or already working in cyber security, we’ve compiled a list of 6 best hacking and cyber security films for you to watch.
1. WarGames: 80’s classic inspiring a generation of hackers
“Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy work well in the tale of a youngster who hacks into a secret government computer and threatens to trigger World War Three.” – Martin Chilton, The Telegraph.
Hacking to upgrade exam marks in your school is one thing. But instead, in this 80s film, kid hacker Lightman unwittingly accesses WOPR (War Operation Plan Response) – a United States military supercomputer programme that controls America’s nuclear arsenal. Playing World War Three has never been more dangerous, as Lightman takes on the player role of The Soviet Union.
Here’s a snippet of the film’s dialogue:
McKittrick: General, the machine has locked us out. It’s sending random numbers to the silos.
Pat Healy: Codes. To launch the missiles.
General Beringer: Just unplug the goddamn thing! Jesus Christ!
When this film was released in 1983, the Cold War was still escalating and director John Badham’s warnings of technological take-overs came at a time of real-world tension about global nuclear war. Watch this film for a reminder that next time you delve into your hacking or coding duties, with great power comes great responsibility.
2. Eagle Eye: when technology hacks technology
“A fun techno romp, mixing great bang for your buck with insights into the dangers of restricting civil liberties.” – Empire
A supercomputer which seemingly takes a shine to you may make the world your oyster, until it drafts you into a national defence while trying to wipe out the government. What starts off as a tidy sum in Jerry Shaw’s (Shia LaBeouf) bank account spirals into hacked traffic lights, mobile phones, power lines, and hefty deliveries of government weapons and ammonium nitrate to his apartment.
A.R.I.A.: “The crane will release the car… if you do not jump… you will drown”
While 2008 seems almost ancient by comparison to today's technology, we had the birth of more accessible GPS, Android systems and the Apple App store. Suddenly, by today’s standards, the idea of a supercomputer achieving full sentience and being able to hack into anything it chooses does not seem so far away. If you’re worried a computer may eventually take your job, this film is one to watch.
3. Hackers: inspired by hacker and cyber-punk culture
“This is an engaging and lively exploitation fantasy-thriller about computer hackers, anarchistic in spirit, that succeeds at just about everything.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum
Before the dominance of a post-millennial internet finding its way into 59.5% of the global population’s households, hacking was more an underground scene where reputation was built by outperforming one another. Hackers not only showed how much of a nuisance one person could cause by changing televised programming or cancelling a person’s credit cards but gave a stark insight into the severity of crime it could cause. Causing points to drop off of the New York Stock Exchange or any stock market has caused some people to rack up some serious prison time. Holding a company system to ransom for millions of your choice of currency could give even longer.
Dade Murphy: What is it with this guy?
Ramon Sanchez: His parents missed Woodstock, and he’s been making up for it since.
1995 was a time when dial-up modems and public phones were the norm. While the crimes would be almost impossible to complete on this obsolete technology, watch this if you would like to know how cyber crimes have evolved since it all began.
4. Die Hard 4.0 (aka Live Free, Die Hard): just because
The result of Wiseman’s efforts twins ludicrously stupendous popcorn movie action with a smartly chilling concept, anticipating the kind of devastation that can be wrought by Virtual Terrorism, the panic that must ensue when traffic signals and trains go wrong, broadcast media and phones are hijacked, bank accounts evaporate and the lights go out.” – Angie Errigo
For anyone interested in cyber security, Die Hard 4.0 should definitely make a list for your film binge. In the run-up to Independence Day, our favourite veteran cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) is tasked with bringing in a computer hacker (Justin Long) for questioning. Of course, nothing runs smoothly. Cyber villain Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant) launches an attack on America’s computer infrastructure. As chaos descends around McClane, he battles it out against a high-tech threat.
Matt Farrell: You just killed a helicopter with a car!
John McClane: I was out of bullets.
If you want to find a greater sense of purpose for your cyber security role, this will help validate your ability. You also get to see Bruce Willis blow things up – bonus!
5. Swordfish: the world’s most advanced security systems
“Techno tosh, but fitfully great fun all the same. Fantastic set pieces, award-winning actors, big bangs, and half-a-million-dollar knockers all in one package. If that’s your bag, you could do much worse.” – Mark Dinning
While we may all live on the same planet, there are many worlds within our world that we are yet to see or ever understand. Swordfish is a world beneath cyberspace, where we hide our darkest secrets – protected by passwords, firewalls, and the most advanced security systems. In the film, Hugh Jackman plays a computer hacker recently released from prison and hired to steal billions from unused government funds.
Gabriel: Have you ever heard of Harry Houdini? Well, he wasn’t like today’s magicians who are only interested in television ratings. He was an artist. He could make an elephant disappear in the middle of a theatre filled with people, and do you know how he did that? Misdirection.
Stanley: What the f*** are you talking about?
Gabriel: Misdirection. What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes.
One to watch if you love films that mix drama and action - and it features actual superheroes from Marvel.
6. Ghost in the Shell: perfect soldiers and mind control
“This is smart, hard-lacquered entertainment that may just trump the original films for galloping storytelling momentum and sheer, coruscating visual excitement.” – Guy Lodge.
The movie is based on a cyber-enhanced perfect soldier, Major (Scarlett Johansson). The first of her kind, she’s devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals. In a dystopian view of the future where terrorists can hack into people’s minds and control them, Major is the only one uniquely qualified to stop it. She later discovers that her life is not as it seems, and her focus moves onto a journey into her own past with a determined vengeance for punishing those who have wronged her.
Dr. Ouelet: Hello Mira. I’m Dr. Ouelet. Do you remember anything about the attack?
Major: What happened? I was… I was drowning. There’s water.
Dr. Ouelet: That’s right. You were on a boat. A refugee boat. It was sunk by terrorists.
Major: Why can’t I feel my body?
Dr. Ouelet: Mira, your body was damaged. We couldn’t save it. Only your brain survived. We made you a new body. A synthetic shell. But your mind, your soul, your “ghost,” it’s still in there.
A gripping movie that plays on futuristic fears of a technology take-over that reaches into our minds. Definitely, one to watch if you enjoy the theories on evolving cyber advancements in the future.
Sit back and relax & make your way through this hacker movies list
Need a break from studying or working? Start streaming these 6 best hacking movies and be prepared to expand your cyber-keen brains in ways you never imagined. It’s the perfect way to gear you up for another day in the office, taking on one cyber villain at a time.
If you’re still pondering about the job prospects of a cyber security career, then be sure to get in touch with us. Our career consultants can point you exactly in the right direction for your first step into the cyber industry or your next career move.
- Cyber Security
Our Cyber Security student success stories
We've helped thousands of students start new and rewarding careers in Cyber Security. Explore their stories to get excited about starting your own career in the growing sector.Read More
- Project Management
How to start a career in project management
A career in project management can offer a fulfilling and exciting path. This dynamic field requires adaptability, strategic thinking, and a comprehensive approach to problem-solving, making every day distinct and engaging.Read More
- Cyber Security
Cyber Security needs creative minds
Didn’t think that cyber security and creativity go together? Well we think they do! Read on to find out why more creatives are needed in the cyber security industry.Read More
Learning People win CompTIA’s Outstanding Leader award for the third consecutive year
“It is a great achievement that Learning People APAC have helped more students through CompTIA certifications than any other provider in this region for the last three years running."Read More