Kickstart your holiday spirit with some cybersecurity binge watching!

If you think about things that have nail-biting intrigue, edge-of-the-seat action, and high stakes drama, then cybersecurity has all of these and much more. No wonder so many films and shows feature intense cyberattacks and sometimes ludicrous but captivating hacking scenes.

On that note, since there’s no better time to watch movies and television than the holiday season, here’s a list of some of the best cybersecurity movies and shows you should have on your Christmas watchlist. 

While most hacking films and TV shows waste valuable screentime with hogwash plotlines and scenes, Mr. Robot enthrals you with its authenticity. Poised at gunpoint, the series’ realism has received worldwide acclaim from critics and cyber specialists alike.  

It centres on a recluse named Elliot, a cybersecurity engineer by day and a vigilante hacker by night. Despite keeping this duplicity a secret, he receives an invitation from a hacktivist organization’s leader, whose team is dead-set upon destroying the world’s largest financial conglomerate – Elliot’s own day-job corporation. As a result, Elliot finds himself at a dire crossroads.

The series never has a dull moment. And in all its quick-paced action and twisted mysteries, there’s a common cybersecurity insight that serves as a reminder for both individuals and corporations–never turn a blind eye towards potential insider threats

Watch the series on Amazon Prime.

The dystopian anthology series, Black Mirror, is set in the future where there’s a lot more to technology than meets the eye. One of its finest episodes, titled Nosedive, features a world where social media likes have become a currency. On the surface, this development makes the world a seemingly better place by forcing good behaviour out of people. However, beyond this superficial demeanour, it shows a world that’s lined with discord where social status is often misused and rarely well-managed. 

Another great episode, titled Playtest, highlights the downsides of augmented reality and the hefty cost of trust in the digital world. It portrays how a software company preys on a helpless tourist by promising him a cash payment for testing one of their products. Unfortunately, all hell breaks loose for the tourist as the game makes his worst fears come to life. 

Both episodes emphasize the importance of not heavily relying on technology, be it for cybersecurity or pretty much anything else. They also warn viewers to be wary of shady software and corporations that make big promises but only have ulterior motives.

Watch this series on Netflix.

David Fincher’s magnum opus, The Social Network, needs no introduction. It walks viewers through the ups and downs, highs and lows that took Facebook from a dorm room idea to a multi-million-dollar business. 

While the ups and highs inspire you to keep your head down and put in the work, it’s the downs and lows of Zuckerberg’s journey that teach you some crucial cybersecurity lessons. One of these lessons is protecting your Personal Identifiable Information (PII). A breach in a company or individual’s PII can snowball into an irreversible crisis, no matter how big or small. 

Watch this movie on Amazon Prime, Netflix or Hulu.

Half a decade since its release, Stanley Kubrick’s space opera stands as the epitome of visual effects, cinematography, and unique storytelling. Based on Arthur C. Clarke’s short story, the film follows a group of astronauts who set out to unwind the mysteries behind a monolith that appears on Jupiter. Such an event sets off a chain reaction that ultimately leads to a battle between artificial intelligence and mankind. 

In a similar vein as Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, the film uses ingenious aesthetics to showcase the pitfalls of technology. In today’s world, there are no bounds to its applications. However, adequate measures such as backing up information, risk assessment, and business impact analysis should be taken to ensure that technology never overpowers us. 

Watch this movie on Amazon Prime, Netflix or Hungama.

Solely by their vision, the Wachowskis always find a way to elevate relatively standard material to ageless cinematic spectacles. That’s precisely what they achieve with the Matrix. The film can be viewed from two perspectives. One from the eyes of an action buff and the other from a philosophical standpoint. Only when you look beyond the movie’s ground-breaking action scenes, you’ll see implicit metaphors to the real world. 

Many of these visual cues and metaphors bring the importance of anti-virus software to light. They depict how malware and viruses are designed to alter your perception and breach your security systems. To combat these, you must always be on the lookout for red flags and stay well-equipped with viable resources and detection mechanisms. 

Watch this trilogy on Amazon Prime and Netflix.

There are uncanny parallels between the villainous motives of the bad guys in Live Free Or Die Hard and the day-to-day cybersecurity threats we see each day. The film begins with a cyber-terrorist organization taking over the FBI’s Cyber Crime Division. As the situation escalates, the terrorists use a three-fold process, called fire sale, to invade the entire vulnerable United States infrastructure:

  • Stage 1: Disabling all transportation systems.
  • Stage 2: Shutting off all financial systems.
  • Stage 3: Deactivating all public utility systems. 

Although a little preposterous, the film draws a clear picture of the importance of intelligent threat detection before a hacker takes over your security operations centre (SOC). In addition, it also affirms the importance of IT security, and even more so, OT security, especially if you’re in the OT/ICS/SCADA industry.

Watch this movie on Disney+Hotstar or Amazon Prime.

Happy binge watching!

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