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Blowjob-assisted hack defies logic

RSA hack scene in Swordfish sticks in our throat

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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Our story about a scene in Swordfish where a hacker, played by X-Men star Hugh Jackman, has to hack a system while having a gun pressed against his temple and getting a blow job has produced some interesting feedback.

Vulture eyed Reg readers spotted that in the film Jackman hacked RSA's 128-bit RC5 algorithm in a little over a minute, despite the fact that such a feat would normally take a network of computers years of computational time.

So let's get this straight. What the film is suggesting is that using just his nimble hands, and with the tender administrations of a lovely lady, a hacker can achieve a mathematical feat in seconds, and on Dell laptop, that would take a supercomputer network months.

Unless we're dealing in time-lapse photography - and Jackman's character held off blowing his load for four months (using tantric sex, perhaps) - we're asked to believe this ridiculous nonsense. You can only take willing suspension of disbelief so far...

What's surprising here is that RSA Security has its logo prominently displayed on the movie's official site and has a click through to its own home page where it proudly announced that it had advised the film's makers about encryption "so they would know how a computer system's security could be protected as well as compromised or 'hacked'."

Sorry guy's but I don't think the message got through, and we're not quiet sure how this fits in with RSA Security being the most "trusted name in esecurity" either.

As Reg reader Nick Garcia observes: "I'm not sure how comforting it would be to know that a hacker who hasn't touched a computer in years (and uses Microsoft's Visual Virus Studio) and motivated by a blowjob at gunpoint can crack it [RSA] in 45 seconds." Quite.

RSA Security isn't the only technology firm that features in Swordfish, and the Jackman character's prestigious hack is performed on a Dell laptop, which makes a change from the Apple PowerBook that was used crashing AlienOS with a worm in Independence Day.

The movie still falls into the familiar trap that filmmakers always seem to fall into. In order to make computers seem more interesting directors ignore the advice of technical advisors on how they actually work. Oh well, that's Hollywood!

Swordfish goes on general release in the UK tomorrow (Friday, July 27). ®

External Links

Official site for the movie Swordfish
RSA factoring challenge

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