A Suspense Thriller About Hacking

Algorithm: the Hacker Movie

By Jonathan Schiefer (2014)

Film Review

From the title, I mistakenly assumed this film was a documentary. It’s actually an extremely well made thriller about a group of hackers who are kidnapped and tortured by Homeland Security.

The film noir style is vaguely reminiscent of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Algorithm is the better film in my view.

Besides making an important existential statement about the brutal thuggishness of the US security state, it’s also a good introduction for novice hackers to TOR (a protocol developed by Naval Intelligence that prevents the hack from being traced), the “can of worm” (the hardware patch used to break into a computer network), “port knocking” and “black rooms” (where you cover the walls with tinfoil to exclude wi-fi signals).

The easiest way to break into a computer network is to cut the power and install the hack while the system reboots. This is because the firewall always loads last.

I also learned some interesting new torture techniques.