Who said studying has to be about getting your head in books and passing tests?
Yes, there's a time for knuckling down to study, but there's also always room for getting inspired with a good ol' film binge.
Whether you're still toying with the idea of switching to a cyber security career or already working in cyber security and making your way through the cyber ranks, we've compiled a list of the best hacking and cyber security films for you to watch.
1. WarGames: 80's classic inspiring a generation of hackers
"Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy work well in the tale of a youngster who hacks into a secret government computer and threatens to trigger World War Three." Martin Chilton, The Telegraph.
Hacking to upgrade exam marks in your school is one thing, but instead this 80's kid hacker, Lightman, unwittingly accesses WOPR (War Operation Plan Response). A United States military supercomputer programmed that controls America's nuclear arsenal - eek. Playing World War Three has never been more dangerous, as Lightman takes on the player role of The Soviet Union. Just imagine the fallout? Wait, you don't need to, just watch the film to find out what happens next.
- McKittrick: General, the machine has locked us out. It's sending random numbers to the silos.
- Pat Healy: Codes. To launch the missiles.
- General Beringer: Just unplug the goddamn thing! Jesus Christ!
When this film was released in 1983, the Cold War was still escalating and director John Badham's warnings of technological take-overs came at a time of real world tension about global nuclear war. Watch this film for a reminder that next time you delve into your hacking or coding duties, with great power comes great responsibility.
2. Eagle Eye: when technology hacks technology
"A fun techno romp, mixing great bang for your buck with insights into the dangers of restricting civil liberties." - Empire
A supercomputer which seemingly takes a shine to you may make the world your oyster, until it drafts you into a national defence while trying to wipe out the government. What starts off as a tidy sum in Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf's) bank account spirals into hacked traffic lights, mobile phones, power lines, and hefty deliveries of government weapons and ammonium nitrate to his apartment.
- A.R.I.A.: The crane will release the car... if you do not jump... you will drown
While 2008 seems almost ancient by comparison of today's technology, we had the birth of more accessible GPS, Android systems and the Apple App store. Suddenly by today's standards, the idea of a supercomputer achieving full sentience and being able to hack into anything it chooses does not seem so far away. One to watch if you're worried a computer may eventually take your job.
3. Hackers: Inspired by hacker and cyber-punk culture
"This is an engaging and lively exploitation fantasy-thriller about computer hackers, anarchistic in spirit, that succeeds at just about everything." Jonathan Rosenbaum
Before the dominance of a post millennial internet finding its way under half of the modern world's homes , hacking was more an underground scene where reputation was built by outperforming one another. Hackers not only showed how much of a nuisance one person could cause, through changing televised programming or cancelling a person's credit cards but gave a stark insight to the severity of crime it could cause. Causing points to drop off of the New York Stock Exchange or any stock market has caused some people to rack up some serious prison time. Holding a company system to ransom for millions of your choice of currency could give even longer.
- Dade Murphy: What is it with this guy?
- Ramon Sanchez: His parents missed Woodstock, and he's been making up for it since.
1995 was a time where dial up modems and public phones were the norm. While the crimes would be nigh on impossible to complete on this obsolete technology, watch this if you would like to know how cyber crimes have evolved since it all began.
4. Die Hard 4.0 (aka Live Free, Die Hard) - just because
"The result of Wiseman's efforts twins ludicrously stupendous popcorn movie action with a smartly chilling concept, anticipating the kind of devastation that can be wrought by Virtual Terrorism, the panic that must ensue when traffic signals and trains go wrong, broadcast media and phones are hijacked, bank accounts evaporate and the lights go out." Angie Errigo
If you prefer a bit more manly 'ugh' to your hacking films, then Die Hard 4.0 should definitely make the list for your cyber security film binge. In the run up to Independence Day, our favourite veteran cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) is tasked with bringing in a computer hacker (Justin Long) for questioning. Of course, nothing runs smoothly. Cyber villain Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant) launches an attack on America's computer infrastructure. As chaos descends around our Bruce, he battles it out against a high-tech threat.
- Matt Farrell: You just killed a helicopter with a car!
- John McClane: I was out of bullets.
If you want to find a greater sense of purpose for your role in Cyber Security, then this will help validate your validity. You also get to see Bruce blow things up… bonus.
5. Swordfish: the world's most advanced security systems
"Techno tosh, but fitfully great fun all the same. Fantastic set-pieces, sexy leads, big bangs and half-a-million-dollar knockers all in the one package. If that's your bag, you could do much worse." Mark Dinning
While we may all live in the same planet, there are many worlds within our world that we are yet to see, or ever understand. Swordfish is a world beneath cyberspace, where we hide our darkest secrets - protected by passwords, firewalls and the most advanced security systems. In the film, Hugh Jackman plays a computer hacker recently released from prison and hired to steal billions from unused government funds.
- Gabriel: Have you ever heard of Harry Houdini? Well he wasn't like today's magicians who are only interested in television ratings. He was an artist. He could make an elephant disappear in the middle of a theater filled with people, and do you know how he did that? Misdirection.
- Stanley: What the f*** are you talking about?
- Gabriel: Misdirection. What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes.
One to watch if you love a bit of drama and fancy yourself as a hacking superhero… and well let's face it fancy Halle Berry or Hugh Jackman.
6. Ghost in the shell: perfect soldiers and mind control
"This is smart, hard-lacquered entertainment that may just trump the original films for galloping storytelling momentum and sheer, coruscating visual excitement." Guy Lodge.
The movie is based on a cyber-enhanced perfect soldier, Major. The first of her kind she's devoted to stopping the world's most dangerous criminals. In a dystopian view of the future where terrorists can hack into peoples minds and control them, Major is the only one uniquely uniquely qualified to stop it. She later discovers that her life is not as it seems and her focus moves onto a journey into her own past with a determined vengeance for punishing those who have wronged her.
- Dr. Ouelet: Hello Mira. I'm Dr. Ouelet. Do you remember anything about the attack?
- Major: What happened? I was... I was drowning. There's water.
- Dr. Ouelet: That's right. You were on a boat. A refugee boat. It was sunk by terrorists.
- Major: Why can't I feel my body?
- Dr. Ouelet: Mira, your body was damaged. We couldn't save it. Only your brain survived. We made you a new body. A synthetic shell. But your mind, your soul, your "ghost," it's still in there.
A gripping movie that plays on futuristic fears of a technology take-over that reaches into our minds. Definitely one to watch if you enjoy the theories on evolving cyber advancements in the future.
Sit back and take a load off to these cyber security films
What are you still doing here? Start streaming and be prepared to expand your cyber keen brains in ways you never imagined. The perfect way to gear you up for another day in the office taking on one cyber villain at a time.
If you like this, you might also want to check out our top movies for coders and if you're still pondering about the job prospects of a cyber security career, then check out our blog post on the increase of unfilled cyber security jobs.