For years, film and television writers have tried to crystallize what a hacker is and explain it to the technophobes of the world, but more often than not their depictions of console cowboys are one note and completely flat. Why write a nuanced character when all you need to do is slap some black hair dye on an actor and make them spout a bunch of techno babble? On this list you'll find some of the worst hackers in film and television, from Superman 3 to CSI.
A lot of the hackers on this list come from the time capsule that was the '90s, a time when everything felt possible and no one knew what was coming next from Silicon Valley. Some writers felt that virtual reality was the next step in the burgeoning technological evolution, while others thought that we'd be jamming information straight into our heads by the year 2000. Almost no one assumed that we would be carrying around tiny computers in our pockets. Regardless, hacking in movies and hackers on TV often missed the mark, leaving us with these hacker characters, who definitely leave something to be desired.
So with the sense of superiority that comes with hindsight, we're looking back at the hackers of film and television's yesterday and laughing our virtual faces off at their anachronism, ridiculous techno speak, and dumb hair. Vote up the hacker you think is the worst, and feel free to add anyone we missed from hacking films.
Boris is the worst. The worst hacker, worst person with a Russian accent, worst everything. From the moment he hacks the CIA at the beginning of the film to his whole pen "on/off" thing, we were retching.
In Superman 3 Richard Pryor plays a hacker who steals the rounded half-cents that don't go into employees paychecks — just like Office Space! In a movie where Superman goes to his high school reunion, gets wasted, and fights his subconscious in a garbage dump, it's saying a lot that the most implausible detail of the film is that a mega corporation's security override command is "OVERRIDE ALL SECURITY."
Okay, so we couldn't find the hacking footage from Masterminds, but believe us - it's terrible. Columbia Pictures must have hired Zero Cool or Acid Burn to DELETE IT FROM THE MAINFRAME! Or something? In the film, Oswald is a teenage hacker who pirates a video game by hacking into the company's "online fortress" and fighting skeletons in a kind of first person shooter-style hack off. It is truly awful. We suggest you see it for yourself before you do any more hacking. Specifically hacking every physical copy of this film to bits with a hatchet.
Invisigoth appeared in the William Gibson penned season five episode of The X-Files, about a group of hackers that were trying to upload their consciousness to an AI but accidentally made it shoot missiles at people. You'd think, "make sure our AI doesn't shoot missiles at people" would be job one when creating something like that.