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3 Movies That Would've Been Ruined By Good Security Practice (Part 1)

4 August 2017 13:14

Some of the greatest films of our lifetime are based on the most naive and dire security practices. But what if we put on our sensible security hats, hopped into a time machine, and put everything right? Well, quite frankly, they'd all be ruined -- and here's exactly how.

A person asleep whilst at the movies.

DISCLAIMER* These are all very enjoyable films and is not meant to be taken seriously. Also, lots of *SPOILERS*.

#1 The Fugitive (1993)

*SPOILER* Harrison Ford finds his wife dead and a man with one-arm leaving the apartment where she is killed. Harrison Ford (a doctor) gets blamed for her death, as she had a large health insurance policy and mumbles his name down the telephone in her dying moments  - leaving the court to believe she is naming her killer. After being convicted and on the way to death row - he escapes and flees custody. 

As the films go on, Ford tries to find the real one-armed killer. After telling everyone ‘A one-armed man killed his wife’ (and sounding a bit crazy) he has a brainwave - Look at the hospital records, narrow down the owner of the prosthetic arm (the real killer was wearing) and go from there.

He does this by entering a prosthetic department in a hospital, posing as a janitor using his ID Card. He narrows down the type of prosthetic the killer was wearing, to only three people. One of whom was affiliated with a large pharmaceutical company that Ford blocked a lucrative deal with.

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(Smiling Woman who is being socially engineered)

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(Conveniently unlocked PC only containing lots of sensitive information)


Ford steals the ID card of a janitor and starts to pose as him for several days, maybe weeks. At one point, he walks into the prosthetics clinic, whilst a lady opens a door, lets him straight in and then into a room with an unlocked computer - which has access to everyone's personal information.


Ford gets the death sentence for murdering his wife, escapes custody from prison bus crash, only to be re-arrested due to somebody challenging why a janitor is using the prosthetics database. Employee calls security and Ford gets the death sentence never avenging his late wife.

TLDR;  Guy who doesn't kill wife, gets the death sentence for not killing the wife.



#2 Gattaca (1997)

In the future Eugenics is common - the set of beliefs and practices that aims at improving the genetic quality of a group of individuals (thanks, Wikipedia.)

Vincent Freeman is conceived without the aid of genetic selection; his genetics indicate a high probability of several disorders and an estimated lifespan of 30.2 years. Vincent dreams of a career in space travel but is reminded of his genetic inferiority. Vincent works as an invalid, cleaning office spaces including that of Gattaca Aerospace Corporation, a space-flight conglomerate. He gets a chance to pose as a valid by using hair, skin, blood and urine samples from a donor, Jerome Eugene Morrow, who is a former swimming star paralyzed due to a car accident.

With Jerome's genetic makeup, Vincent gains employment at Gattaca, and is assigned to be the navigator for an upcoming trip to Saturn's moon Titan. To keep his identity hidden, Vincent must meticulously groom and scrub down daily to remove his own genetic material and pass daily DNA scanning and urine tests using Jerome's samples.

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In a nutshell, Vincent pretends he is someone else for the entirety of the film in order to become an astronaut. At the climax of the film - we discover that the doctor, whose responsibility it was to screen the employee's genetics, says to Vincent "For the record, right-handed men don't hold it with their left." (Vincent uses his left hand to pee.) 

Vincent finally boards the rocket that takes him to space. This leads us to understand the doctor has known the whole time about Vincent's long-con.


The doctor here, despite his good morals, has literally not done the only job he is asked to do. If your job is to screen people on a daily basis to report any abnormalities and you do not do that - you are an awful employee. And Vincent, despite reaching his dreams – has managed to pretend he is someone else for the entirety of the film. 


Genetically Inferior Man tries to go to space - good employee reports Vincent to the appropriate authorities. Vincent gets arrested for identity theft.
TLDR; Genetically Inferior Man does not go to space.



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(Vincent -- Spaceless)

#3 Office Space (1999)

Peter Gibbons is a programmer at a company called Initech, who is frustrated and unmotivated at his job. His co-workers include Samir Nagheenanajar and Michael Bolton (not that one), who are programmers. The staff constantly suffer under callous management, especially Initech's smarmy vice president Bill Lumbergh, whom Peter loathes.

During the film, Peter's girlfriend Anne persuades him to attend an occupational hypnotherapy session, but Dr Swanson, the therapist, dies of a heart attack while hypnotizing Peter. Peter wakes up the next morning newly relaxed, and he ignores repeated phone calls from Lumbergh, who had been expecting him to work over the weekend. Peter and the programmers are fed up.

The programmers at Initech decide to upload a virus via Floppy Disk to the accounting software and deposit micro-sized transactions into a bank account.

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Having a high volume of penny transactions would not stir up any untoward attention, but over time, it would accumulate a large amount of money. A bug in the code accidentally steals $300,000 dollars in the space of a few days. Looking like Peter is about to get caught - the building catches on fire, which destroys all evidence of any wrongdoing.


Aside from calling a computer virus “Virus” - Good security would have ruined this film. A removable media policy would have stopped the upload, regulations and audits would have caught the money and a disaster recovery plan would have incriminated Peter.


A guy that gets hypnotised, finds out his wife is cheating and gets caught stealing money from Initech via regular audits and forensic investigation. Peter and the other programmers go to jail for mass fraud. With onsite backups, Initech was able to restore everything fine and fixed the vulnerability that was found in the accounting software.

TLDR; Peter gets hypnotised then arrested.




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