It was bound to happen. The latest episode in the popular CSI series had all the ingredients to be not very faithful to reality. If we already far from credible elements in the versions of Las Vegas, Miami, and New York, what can we expect from ‘CSI: Cyber’?
In this occasion, the characters are part of the FBI’s Cyber Crimes Division.
The series premiered on March 4, 2015 on USA, and a day later worldwide. The team, led by Oscar winner Patricia Arquette, work to solve computer-related cases.
The relationship between the franchise CSI and technology has never been good. After fifteen years of fiction, they still surprise us with some of the techniques used to solve crimes. Just think how do they are able to expand images and still get spectacular resolution, which in real life would be magical.
But introducing cybersecurity elements into CSI’s typical plot hasn’t improved things. As some experts in the subject had suspected, the series has enough details to pull our hairs out, and it is not very useful if you want to learn something about cybersecurity.
Just by watching the pilot episode we can verify how much ‘CSI: Cyber‘ distorts the industry reality. Spoiler alert: from here on, there might be some spoilers of the first episode!
In one of the scenes we can see two of the experts analyzing the code searching for something suspicious, and how they find it right away. No wonders: The code is written in green over a black screen except where the malware is (barely) hidden, that is in written in red.
In addition, everything happens at tremendous speed. They are able to discover the hacking of a baby monitor based on vulnerability in the manufacturer source code in just half an hour.
As if that wasn’t enough, cybercriminals have brilliant minds, and also, twisted. In the first chapter, they create such a complex encryption key that in order to remember it they had it tattooed! Typical, isn’t it?
This first chapter is peppered with many other details that drag computer security experts through the mud. For starters, the FBI’s Cyber Crimes Division is led by a psychologist (Patricia Arquette) who hunts cybercriminals driven by one bad experience she had years back.. Maybe no expert in this matter was able to lead this Division…
It is true that we have still the whole season to finally find out if ‘CSI: Cyber‘ deals with cyber security in a more realistic way than in the first episode. In the first episode the experts manage to geo-locate the suspects through just an IP address (something that maybe a good cybercriminal won’t allow), or hacking an Xbox, what else awaits us?
Something that we can actually learn from the series is the Internet of Things, something so useful that helps us monitor every aspect of our live, also carries certain risks. As soon as something is connected to the network, it is potentially vulnerable. Anything: your baby monitor, your home’s thermostat or your toothbrush.