When his family hits financial trouble, Alex Danyliuk turns to a life of crime and identity theft, with the help of Sye, a street-wise hustler who introduces him to the world of black market trading, Kira, a young female hacker, and contacts on the dark web. After finding success in causing financial market chaos, they gain the attention of Z, a mysterious masked figure, who's the head of an organization known as Anonymous, and a number one target by the FBI, Written by
The director and producer first spoke about the story in June 2013. By August the film was fully financed, and a year later, the film was fully completed. It shot in Toronto, New York, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kazakhstan, edited in Los Angeles, and finished in Toronto. See more »
The Australian actor playing Alex refers to himself early in the movie as an "adult" with an accent on the second syllable, while every Canadian-including Ukrainian and Russian immigrants-would place the accent on the first syllable. In other words, he was using an American accent after having grown up in Canada. See more »
Not a movie about "hacking" in the traditional sense
While the acting and dialogue was solid, this rather cliché and moralistic tale may leave some people with a sour taste in their mouth.
It may leave an even worse after-taste when the (totally private) "Federal Reserve" banking system, becomes its own bubble and then bursts, which is something that appears to have been building in the wake of the mortgage-bubble lead financial meltdown. If indeed these predictions are correct, and a worldwide economic collapse of far greater magnitude ensues, the US citizens will probably be told that it was all due to "Russia", "China", and "Hackers operating out of Russia and China...who may be on their respective government's payroll".
I listen to people who actually know what they're talking about and not talking heads with vested interests, so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to smell the faint aroma of economic propaganda (or a "contingency story" for mass consumption), which may become stronger in the years to come if these economic predictions are correct.
Just some food for thought.
However, I digress. On with the review!
Why should I give this film a better-than-average rating when the plot was weak and the main protagonist knew less about protecting their online anonymity than I do? Well, to answer that question I should say that "social engineering" is also considered a valid form of hacking. People are always the weakest point in any system, hence they are the easiest way to bypass security without having to force your way through from behind a computer.
Even with the most sophisticated of proxies and other counter-measures, there is no way to ensure something won't be traced back to you online, just as there is no assurances of remaining unrecognized IRL on a camera, even with a disguise; The latter just happens to be far more efficient, and can often be achieved by using real-life proxies to do your data-collection.
The more real life proxies that are distributing the original data in a non-pyramid/linear, distributed fashion, the less chance of one person being caught as the "ring leader", which is the exact same principle one uses when using an online proxy network. The fact they did funnel information from proxies in bottom up fashion was certainly a major security flaw that would have easily have had them nabbed for credit card fraud under normal circumstances.
If you're into the guts of how people hack from behind a keyboard, then this movie is not for you...but if you want to see a totally different type of hacking at work (predominantly social engineering), you may get something out of this film in spite of its pitfalls.
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