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Re: SHIELD is disappointing.
From: David Maynor <dave () erratasec com>
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2013 19:26:17 +0000

In theatre they have the concept of exaggerated movement to draw
attention to actions that a viewer might not notice due to distance from
actor and such. Hackers on TV are the same way since 95% of what hackers
do isn¹t easily visually translated to a non technical person. The problem
is non tech people make up the vast majority of audiences. Nobody wants to
see a situation where Coulson tells Sky lives on hanging on her ability to
hack a door/street lights/chip in someones head in 2 minutes. If she had a
copy of the app/firmware/microcode I don¹t even know if an IDA auto
analysis would be done that quickly. The audience would be disappointed if
Skye told Coulson that she could hack whatever but it would take 24-48
hours of development with a lot of failureŠ.oh and she needs a dev
environment to do it in.0 Could you imagine the virtualization environment
SHIELD would have to cram into that plane to give her the ability to
development/debug/test exploits and backdoors against the variety of
devices she would need to target.

As for the hacker conflicts while working for .govs it is whats making
news. Popular media has made ever person who does anything with security
out to be a ticking Snowden/Manning/Anon person waiting to rain anarchy
down on whatever org they deem oppressive at the time. Whedon¹s
description of a hacker just reflects this. You can argue and complain
about the depiction but it is what non-infosec people generally think, in
my experience. 

SHIELD is a tv drama, not a hacker documentary. It has to compete against
Real Housewives of bar flys/Honey BooBoo/toddler pageant/teenage drama
with the popular jock not fitting in and having a crush on the new girl
with a secret/Headless horsemen but in modern times with machines guns and
the freemasons/seasonal sports where criminal steroid abusive junkie who
can dunk is revered as god/Young people with abs put into jobs to spark
drama and document alcohol and sex fueled romps while complaining to the
camera about hating everyone/any comedy that takes a random group of
people, throw them together and they have to identify an issue with broad
social implications, explore it, and solve it in 22 minutes with a well
timed laugh track/The Kardashians.

Ease up on Joss, if he was making content for his hardcore fans I am sure
it would be different but SHIELD is in a prim time slot and requires mass
appeal to survive. Looking for math errors in a binary that requires
conversion between base 2, base 10, and base 16 would lose to exploitive
show about the hardship of life south of the Mason-Dixion line. In 5 years
we would be all wearing Agent Coulson is my homey tshirts at a scifi con
and talking about what a horrible decision it was to cancel SHIELD.

As a side note I am a gun fan. I am not complaining because the gun guys
in Whedon¹s shows are all statuesque men who seem to live in gyms and
never have to zero their weapons. Did you ever seen Jane check a ballistic
chart even while shooting a gun wrapped in space suit out of an airlock of
a moving ship into a target while in a zero G environment and adjusting
for lead/rotation/distance? Just the effect of going from a pressurized to
non-pressurized environment would have extremely hard to predict
influences on the bullet. No one points that out. You have a female hacker
with a complicated relationship with a guy and less than concrete
loyalties to a shadowy org a few weeks after joining and people lose their

Its a TV show, its not real.

On 11/21/13, 12:23 PM, "Dave Aitel" <dave () immunityinc com> wrote:

Those of us who loved Buffy watch anything Joss Whedon puts out, because
we KNOW he's capable of genius. That said, he always has a hacker
character, and they've been getting progressively worse. Willow is
entirely believable - conflicted, dark, and at the same time cheerfully

Avengers' hacker character is essentially Tony Stark, although the
flying carrier also gets hacked by an arrow - built by someone off
screen and off script.

But in his new show, S.H.I.E.L.D., Whedon takes the hacker schtick and
makes it extra inane with a dash of confusing. For example, one of the
major plot points was his hacker character Skye coming on board with
SHIELD and then suffering the inevitable conflicts of interest that
hacker subtypes have when working for big brother. Which COULD be a
really interesting story, except it's clear that Whedon has never met a
modern hacker, but just sort of heard about them from one of his friends
who at one point read a blog post about Julian Assange.

In other words, it's awful. Hackers make for great TV, despite the fact
that they spend most of their time sitting in one place staring at a
screen. That's because they're as weird as it gets in real life, and
they have interesting common traits. For example, in the show Whedon has
a bracelet put on Skye which renders her unable to use computers. But no
hacker can look at anything like that without trying to constantly
fiddle with it, and probably finding a way to take it off, as opposed to
meekly submitting to it, the way Skye does.



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