Everyone has their list of favorite security movies and I bet some are on everyone’s list. There’s also a set of movies that aren’t totally about security but have it as a big part of the story arc. My favorites, despite some with obvious flaws, are:
If you are just so nostalgic for those dial up modem sounds. Shall we play a game?
Great, and seemingly everyone’s favorite but is borderline overrated as a result.
2001 A Space Odyssey
Ok, only on the list because it's a great film, but HAL does malfunction - or is it the correct function?
If you’re part of Generation X, give or take, you no doubt wanted to be catapulted into that world, and how cool was it to explain to your parents what bits and bytes were?
The classic insider risk, even if it was Newman.
A truly terrible film that is only on the list because it once let me do a conference talk where I used the “Harrison Ford Index” as a means of showing how cool security was becoming. In a short space of time Harrison Ford went from space hero, adventurer archaeologist, President of the United States, to his pinnacle of career achievement, the IT Security manager with a specialism in firewall administration.
Inadvertently comical but inherently stylish especially if you love a bit of EDM with your speed-hacking.
But surely some of the best security movies not yet made would have to include the following. (Thank you to Bard and some prompt engineering on my part and a bit of generative AI image magic and you get some half workable pitches. Disclaimer: any coincidence of names are of course unintentional).
Going Through the Audit
“Firewall Follies” - A Modern Day Comedy of Errors (and Findings)
A.J. Ramirez, CISO extraordinaire, isn't sweating the SOC 2 audit – he's drowning it in sarcasm and stale coffee. But Veronica "Vulnerability Vulture" Von Ripper and her audit army smell blood (figuratively, she's kale-obsessed).
Cue the IT circus: Sanjay, the keyboard-wielding firewall whisperer. Brenda, the patch queen with a stapler arsenal. Hector, the MacGyver of malware who builds honeypots with paperclips. Together, they're a dysfunctional symphony of caffeine-fueled heroics, battling missing patches, inconsistent access controls, and suspicious network activity.
It's "Ocean's Eleven" meets "Silicon Valley" on a sugar rush, with whiteboard battles fiercer than Game of Thrones, and documentation forged faster than a bitcoin boom. Laughs, hijinks, and the desperate scramble to keep customer data safe before the Auditors of Doom unleash their fury.
"Firewall Follies" is more than a movie; it's a love letter to the tech warriors who keep our digital lives ticking with duct tape and dreams. It's a reminder that in cybersecurity, the best defense is a good offense... of laughter. Greenlight it? We've got coffee, code, and chaos. Your call.
Why Did You Let Me Accept the Risk?
“The CEO’s Gamble” - A Drama of the Ages in 8 Episodes
Imagine this: Wall Street's golden boy, Alex Vance, CEO of FinTech giant, "DataSuperVault," basking in the glow of record profits. Beneath the veneer of success, however, lurks a chilling secret: a critical security vulnerability, lurking in the dark corners of their digital fortress.
Enter Sarah Kernaghan, the sharp-as-tacks CISO. Months ago, she warned the board of this gaping hole, its potential to unleash financial carnage. But Alex, fixated on shareholder numbers, dismissed it as an "acceptable risk." Now, that risk has materialized in the worst way imaginable.
A data breach. Customer information, financial records, everything, exposed to the highest bidder on the dark web. The media frenzy is instant, brutal. Regulators circle like vultures, smelling blood. Sarah, once the voice of reason, is now the scapegoat, accused of failing to protect the very data she championed.
But is she truly to blame? As the series unfolds, we delve into the murky waters of corporate greed, political power plays, and a web of deceit that stretches from the boardroom to the hacker's den. Was the breach an inside job? Did someone deliberately sabotage DataSuperVault to frame Sarah? Or is something far more sinister at play?
Each episode becomes a chess match, Sarah battling against a tide of misinformation, desperate to clear her name and prevent further catastrophe. We meet a cast of compelling characters: the jaded investigative journalist sniffing out the truth, the enigmatic hacker with a hidden agenda, and the ruthless competitor with a score to settle.
The twists and turns are as sharp as a phishing email. Just when Sarah thinks she's found solid ground, the rug gets pulled out from under her. Loyalties shift, alliances crumble, and the line between victim and perpetrator blurs.
The cliffhanger ending will leave you gasping for air. As the season concludes, a shocking revelation throws everything into question. Did Sarah gamble with the company's security, or was she played by a master manipulator? The answer will ignite a firestorm of speculation, leaving viewers desperate for the next season.
"The CEO’s Gamble" is not just a drama; it's a cautionary tale for the digital age. It exposes the human cost of prioritizing profit over security, the devastating consequences of ignoring red flags, and the chilling vulnerability of our interconnected world.
The Board Presentation (in 5 mins rather than the scheduled 1 hr)
“Behind the Boardroom Door” - From the Inside Track Documentary Series
Format: One-hour documentary short, part of a series exploring executive roles. This episode takes a fly-on-the-wall approach, interweaving:
Main narrative: Real-time footage of the CISO (Anna Walker) waiting to present, her mounting anxiety punctuated by brief interviews with the production crew and glimpses of the chaotic Board schedule.
Pre-recorded interviews: In-depth interviews with Anna before the presentation, delving into her preparation, passion for cybersecurity, and concerns about the company's vulnerabilities.
Flashbacks: Brief, stylized visual flashbacks showcasing past security incidents and near misses, highlighting the potential consequences of inadequate resources.
The Anticipation: We meet Anna, calm and collected, reviewing her slides one last time. The crew chats with her, capturing her dedication and meticulous preparation. Clips of the Board in disarray (CEO's existential crisis, a marketing presentation devolving into chaos) hint at the mounting turmoil.
The Cracks Appear: Hours turn into minutes, Anna's composure starts to show cracks. Crew interviews reveal her growing frustration and anxieties about the missed opportunity.
The Five-Minute Challenge: The Board Chairwoman steps out, her face grim. "Five minutes, Ms. Walker," she says. Anna's world freezes, then explodes into panicked action. She had been scheduled for 1 hour, but now she has to do the whole thing in 5 minutes.
The Re-pitch: Anna enters the Boardroom, her slides abandoned. Using whiteboards, markers, and raw passion, she condenses her hour-long presentation into a five-minute tour de force, weaving anecdotes, statistics, and real-world examples into a gripping narrative of cyber-vulnerability.
Aftermath: We see Anna debriefing with the crew, drained but defiant. Her five-minute presentation, while unorthodox, leaves a powerful impression on the Board. The episode ends with a cliffhanger: did Anna's improvisation get the resources she needs?
What other movies or docudramas would you develop?
Catching the red team.
Patching production in situ.
Explaining to leadership that adding 3 seconds to their login time is really not an imposition.
The vendor dinner with peers (gamble of who really shows up).
Merging physical and IT security teams.