Mr Robot eat your heart out – we learnt how to hack and it was surprisingly easy


It’s not each press occasion that begins with “The technique we’re teaching you today isn’t technically illegal, but using it definitely is.” There’s one thing thrilling about it, however it additionally appears fairly dangerous. 

This is all promo for Mr Robot season three that’s about to start out on Amazon. If you haven’t watched seasons one or two, you’re in for an actual deal with. It’s one of many exhibits we have marked as being among the many finest to look at on Amazon Prime. 

In Mr Robot, Rami Malek performs a hacker referred to as Elliot Alderson who’s a part of a gaggle referred to as F Society. There are different hackers who additionally hack issues however we will’t actually let you know rather more with out gifting away large spoilers. Just go watch it. Even should you’ve already watched it. 

At the occasion we had been handled to a potted historical past of hacking, adopted by a workshop that taught us the fundamentals of hacking a web site. What was actually staggering was how easy it was. 

Hack for money

Our hacking instructor for the afternoon was Chris Wallis, founder and CEO of cyber-security agency Intruder who has, over the course of his 10 12 months moral hacking profession, hacked into quite a few FTSE 100 and delicate UK Government programs. 

The display screen that greets WannaCry victims

He talked us by means of the totally different causes that hacks occur, together with hacktivism (assume Anonymous), espionage (assume STUXnet), and crime for monetary achieve (assume WannaCry). According to Wallis, this final class is the biggest rising part of the hacking group, given its anonymity and ease.

When you first take a look at a display screen full of code, simple isn’t the very first thing that springs to thoughts. But when proven the fitting instruments, it’s stunning how uncovered a few of the internet’s vulnerabilities are. 

We learnt a way referred to as an SQL injection, which mainly means that you can name up info saved in a database by placing instructions instantly into entry fields on a web site. If, for instance, you needed to log onto a web site however didn’t have a password and username, you might doubtlessly use an SQL injection to trick the database into exposing the knowledge wanted and log you in. 

*whispers* I am in

This works as a result of you’ll be able to basically manipulate the code behind the scenes by placing nefarious code into the window the place you’re alleged to be coming into your password. We’re not going to explain the method in its entirety right here as a result of we’re genuinely unsure it’s a good suggestion for us to show you how you can hack.

We had been proven how the method works, then set a problem of making an attempt to hack into a web site (don’t fear, it was one which Wallis setup for the workshop). It’s a very satisfying feeling when passwords and usernames begin showing on the display screen, however we had a niggling feeling that it couldn’t actually be this simple. Could it?

“This how TalkTalk got hacked,” Wallis defined, “[The TalkTalk website had] this exact problem. They made their website, they didn’t filter what the user was putting into it, and someone just turned up and said ‘give me all the stuff you’ve got’. They downloaded it all, put it on the DarkWeb for money.”

It appears fairly dangerous that the web is really easy to govern, and the hacking group agrees. There’s an incredible video from 1998 of a hacker group referred to as L0pht advising senate on safeguards that have to be applied on the net. It’s value watching, if solely to listen to a senator say the title Brian Oblivion:

Obviously, the safeguards weren’t applied and now we’re in a spot the place hacking is commonplace sufficient that there’s a main TV collection about hacking. One factor that we had been inquisitive about is how correct the hacking is in Mr Robot.

Wallis had this to say: “I actually was hugely impressed when I watched season one about how realistic the hacking is. The main difference I noticed was simply they sped things up, so where he can hack someone in thirty seconds, in real life it might take days, or weeks. But in principle, most of what he says and does is very close to how it’s done in real life. I think they must have spent a lot of time and effort consulting with real hackers to make each episode, which is pretty cool!”

It was an effective way to spend a day, if just a little terrifying. We in all probability gained’t be donning the hacker hoodie once more anytime quickly. But we will certainly be watching Mr Robot season three for some vicarious hacking. 

Mr. Robot Season three launches on Amazon Prime Video October 12 with new episodes each Thursday.

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