History Main / HollywoodEncryption

2nd Nov '17 8:41:51 AM Game_Fan
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Modern cryptography is a very, very, very serious business. It can be what protects the citizens against TheMan. It can be the difference between losing a war or winning it. It can be the difference between making millions of dollars off a new invention, or letting the competition find out, overtake you and run away with all the money you could have made. It can be what keeps your PornStash safe from Mom's prying eyes. It's the only barrier that separates data crackers from your bank account's details. It is also the base of communication within [[AncientConspiracy Ancient Conspiracies]], shadowy criminal organizations, perfectly legitimate corporations and [[LaResistance freedom fighters]].

Unfortunately for [[WritersCannotDoMath those who studied literature hoping to never, ever see a single number ever again]], crypto is also one of the hardest sciences in the world, drawing from fields as abstract and diverse as number theory, mathematical logic, information theory and data structures. And ciphers are just the tip of the iceberg -- there are also associated algorithms such as cryptographic hashes, pseudorandom number generators, public key algorithms, and cryptosystems like SSL, PGP, [=NaCl=], SSH, [=IPsec=] or dm-crypt that tie them all together into something useful. Needless to say, this means any research in the subject done for pretty much any purpose needs to be ''very'' accurate, or else the fictional cryptosystem will be a total and utter piece of garbage and the cryptanalysis process will be basically black magic.

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Modern cryptography is a very, very, very serious business. It can be At its most prosaic encryption is what protects makes all forms of online commerce possible, without which the economies of the technologically modern world would grind to a halt. More dramatically it can protect citizens against TheMan. It can be from TheMan or keep military secrets safe from spies. Broken encryption might mean the difference between losing a war or winning it. It can be the difference between making millions million of dollars off a new invention, or letting when the competition find out, overtake you and run away with all the money you could have made. It can be what keeps steals your company's new invention or just an awkward conversation about your PornStash safe from Mom's prying eyes. your parents. It's the only barrier that separates data crackers would be thieves from emptying your bank account's details. It account. And, of course, it is also the base basis of communication within for [[AncientConspiracy Ancient Conspiracies]], shadowy criminal organizations, perfectly legitimate corporations and [[LaResistance freedom fighters]].

Unfortunately for [[WritersCannotDoMath those who studied literature hoping to never, ever see a single number ever again]], crypto is also one of the hardest sciences difficult fields in the world, drawing from fields as abstract and diverse as number theory, abstract algebra, mathematical logic, information theory theory, and data structures.computer science. And ciphers are just the tip of the iceberg -- there are also associated algorithms such as cryptographic hashes, pseudorandom number generators, public key algorithms, and cryptosystems like SSL, PGP, [=NaCl=], SSH, [=IPsec=] or dm-crypt that tie them all together into something useful. Needless to say, this means any research in the subject done for pretty much any purpose needs to be ''very'' accurate, or else the fictional cryptosystem will be a total and utter piece of garbage and the cryptanalysis process will be basically black magic.
2nd Sep '17 7:05:13 PM Bissek
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* In one episode of ''Series/AgentCarter'', Carter manages to decrypt a one-time pad ''in her head''. This was at the tail end of a period where the Russians ''were'' using breakable one-time pads - during WWII, the Russians were forced to reuse some of their pads, which rendered them vulnerable to cryptanalysis - it seems highly unlikely that she would have memorized 35,000 pages of sheer gibberish on the off chance that she might encounter a message encrypted by one of them, especially since the Russians had long since figured out that the VENONA pads were vulnerable and were replacing them with newer and more secure pads as quickly as they could.

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* In one episode of ''Series/AgentCarter'', Carter manages to decrypt a one-time pad ''in her head''. This While this was at the tail end of a period where the Russians ''were'' using breakable one-time pads - during WWII, the Russians were forced to reuse some of their pads, which rendered them vulnerable to cryptanalysis - it seems highly unlikely that she would have memorized 35,000 pages of sheer gibberish on the off chance that she might encounter a message encrypted by one of them, especially since the Russians had long since figured out that the VENONA pads were vulnerable and were replacing them with newer and more secure pads as quickly as they could.
22nd Mar '17 11:18:40 AM Quanyails
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* The "Midnight Ride" episode of Series/SleepyHollow featured a [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vigen%C3%A8re_cipher Vigenère cipher]] in an old document by John Adams, containing instructions on how to defeat the HeadlessHorseman. The document had been preserved and was available online, but nobody had been able to decipher it, before the protagonists found the keyword. The Vigenère cipher is a real cipher, and it was believed to be unbreakable for a long time, but nowadays it can be broken in hours by a human or seconds by a computer.

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* The "Midnight Ride" episode of Series/SleepyHollow ''Series/SleepyHollow'' featured a [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vigen%C3%A8re_cipher Vigenère cipher]] in an old document by John Adams, containing instructions on how to defeat the HeadlessHorseman. The document had been preserved and was available online, but nobody had been able to decipher it, before the protagonists found the keyword. The Vigenère cipher is a real cipher, and it was believed to be unbreakable for a long time, but nowadays it can be broken in hours by a human or seconds by a computer.
22nd Oct '16 8:50:17 PM SteveMB
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See the [[UsefulNotes/{{Encryption}} useful notes on encryption]] for a quick overview of how modern encryption actually works.
30th Jul '16 11:52:28 AM nombretomado
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* In ''Literature/DigitalFortress'' the NSA has a computer which is powerful enough to brute force (i.e. keep trying different passkeys until it gets the right answer) encryption. The plot is based around a new encryption algorithm which is resistant to brute force methods. This is a clear case of [[PasswordSlotMachine research failure]], since a brute force search for a solution would try every possible key until the right one was found.

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* In ''Literature/DigitalFortress'' by Dan Brown, the NSA has a computer which is powerful enough to brute force (i.e. keep trying different passkeys until it gets the right answer) encryption. The plot is based around a new encryption algorithm which is resistant to brute force methods. This is a clear case of [[PasswordSlotMachine research failure]], since a brute force search for a solution would try every possible key until the right one was found.



* In Desmond Bagley's ''The Tightrope Men'', the hero is captured and being questioned by enemy agents, who want to know about the high-tech whatsit he's believed to be working on. However, he's only impersonating the scientist they think he is, and he didn't get a proper briefing, so he's at a loss. Then, abruptly, he comes out with a spray of technobabble about a computer which can brute-force encryption like the one in the DanBrown example above. This scares the life out of him, because he doesn't even understand what he's saying, but it ''does'' make sense to people who know computers, so he wonders where the hell this sudden burst of information ''came from''. Incidentally, the scientist he's posing as was ''actually'' looking into a possible design for an X-ray laser, nothing to do with computers at all.

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* In Desmond Bagley's ''The Tightrope Men'', the hero is captured and being questioned by enemy agents, who want to know about the high-tech whatsit he's believed to be working on. However, he's only impersonating the scientist they think he is, and he didn't get a proper briefing, so he's at a loss. Then, abruptly, he comes out with a spray of technobabble about a computer which can brute-force encryption like the one in the DanBrown Creator/DanBrown example above. This scares the life out of him, because he doesn't even understand what he's saying, but it ''does'' make sense to people who know computers, so he wonders where the hell this sudden burst of information ''came from''. Incidentally, the scientist he's posing as was ''actually'' looking into a possible design for an X-ray laser, nothing to do with computers at all.
23rd Jul '16 2:16:10 PM ImperialMajestyXO
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* Averted on ''Film/{{Blackhat}}'': The good guys manage to intercept an electronic message sent by the bad guys, but Hathaway (the PlayfulHacker BoxedCrook hero) points out once one of the agents asks him to decrypt the message that the message utilizes a 512-bit [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Privacy_Guard GPG]] code-theoretically, he ''would'' be able to crack it given enough time, but the "enough time" he's talking about is of a few ''months'' and they have ''at least'' hours remaining before the bad guys strike. They nearly give up on the lead as a result.



[[AC:{{Film}}]]
* Averted on ''Film/{{Blackhat}}'': The good guys manage to intercept an electronic message sent by the bad guys, but Hathaway (the PlayfulHacker BoxedCrook hero) points out once one of the agents asks him to decrypt the message that the message utilizes a 512-bit [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Privacy_Guard GPG]] code-theoretically, he ''would'' be able to crack it given enough time, but the "enough time" he's talking about is of a few ''months'' and they have ''at least'' hours remaining before the bad guys strike. They nearly give up on the lead as a result.

4th Jun '16 5:43:08 PM Pinokio
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* ''Film/{{Swordfish}}'': Stanley is shown a "Restricted Access Only" password screen. The screen conveniently says that it is using DES (Data Encryption Standard) 128-bit encryption. Then Gabriel says it is actually 512-bit encryption, and asks Stanley to use a worm, that acts as multiple worms, to find "digital footprints" throughout an encrypted network. Stanley is told to do this in sixty seconds, and already wastes the first fourteen seconds. In terms of cracking, 128-bit and 512-bit encryption bring to mind multiple dozens of computers simultaneously attempting to brute force a password over a period of days or months. Over the next minute, Stanley does not appear to be manually entering passwords, or automating the process of entering passwords by running a program, or setting up something like a botnet or server cluster, which would take too long to accomplish in under a minute. It is likely Stanley is not actually cracking, but is actually hacking, and HollywoodHacking is pretty close to magic, which in this case, means Stanley is doing whatever it is that will bring about the result that will happen to be successful. This could be as simple as opening and running the program, and letting it do what it does, while navigating the interface of the operating system. On screen, this appears as some jumbled C code, hopefully written beforehand, which may take a couple seconds to compile, if needed, and though it appears incorrect, it makes perfect sense to the program meant to interpret the code. The incomprehensible geometric interface is doing what it's supposed to, the impossible IP addresses work just fine because they refer to super duper secret computers that use those addresses, and the PERL script is also doing whatever it's supposed to do. Because, this is more about file transfer than it is about hacking. You see, a Vernam cipher, or One-Time Pad, is not going to be cracked. It will require the actual key. Now, both the computer and the network are encrypted. So, before this fancy worm gets on the network and searches for the key, unsecured, on someone's computer, let's say it already knows the key, and Stanley already knows the password and isn't telling anyone, because this movie is full of double-crossing and by the end you don't have information about what the hell's going on, giving Stanley all the time he needs to enter the correct password.

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* ''Film/{{Swordfish}}'': Stanley is shown a "Restricted Access Only" password screen. The screen conveniently says that it is using DES (Data Encryption Standard) 128-bit encryption. Then Gabriel says it is actually 512-bit encryption, and asks Stanley to use a worm, that acts as multiple worms, to find "digital footprints" throughout an encrypted network. Stanley is told to do this in sixty seconds, and already wastes the first fourteen seconds. In terms of cracking, 128-bit and 512-bit encryption bring to mind multiple dozens of computers simultaneously attempting to brute force a password over a period of days or months. Over the next minute, Stanley does not appear to be manually entering passwords, or automating the process of entering passwords by running a program, or setting up something like a botnet or server cluster, which would take too long to accomplish in under a minute. It is likely Stanley is not actually cracking, but is actually hacking, and HollywoodHacking is pretty close to magic, which in this case, means Stanley is doing whatever it is that will bring about the result that will happen to be successful. This could be as simple as opening and running the program, and letting it do what it does, while navigating the interface of the operating system. On screen, this appears as some jumbled C code, hopefully written beforehand, which may take a couple seconds to compile, if needed, and though it appears incorrect, it makes perfect sense to the program meant to interpret the code. The incomprehensible geometric interface is doing what it's supposed to, the impossible IP addresses work just fine because they refer to super duper secret computers that use those addresses, and the PERL script is also doing whatever it's supposed to do. Because, this is more about file transfer than it is about hacking. You see, a Vernam cipher, or One-Time Pad, is not going to be cracked. It will require the actual encryption key. Now, both the computer and the network are encrypted. So, before this fancy worm gets on the network and searches for the key, unsecured, on someone's computer, let's say it already knows the key, and Stanley already knows the password and isn't telling anyone, because this movie is full of double-crossing and by the end you don't have information about what the hell's going on, giving Stanley all the time he needs to enter the correct password.
12th May '16 8:54:15 AM AceOfScarabs
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\n* Averted realistically in ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork''. [=MegaMan.EXE=] cannot crack open the heavily-encrypted Purple Mystery Data item containers he can find while traveling the Internet with his own abilities, and has to resort to purpose-built Unlocker sub-programs to unpack them. He also cannot spoof security certificates to enter heavy-security zones and has to retrieve passwords, ID data, and security certificates to get past these barriers.

26th Mar '16 4:37:55 PM SovereignGFC
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* Justified in ''FanFic/HeroesOfTheDeskRepercussions'' since the tech doing the cracking is hundreds of years more advanced (2500s versus 2015) and specifically issued to people whose job it is to break into places (Ghosts like [[SuperSoldier Nova Terra]]).
18th Mar '16 1:57:27 PM Morgenthaler
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* ''TheSarahConnorChronicles'': Of course John can break the encryption of Sarkissian's hdd.

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* ''TheSarahConnorChronicles'': ''Series/TerminatorTheSarahConnorChronicles'': Of course John can break the encryption of Sarkissian's hdd.
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