Mr Robot IRL: Is New Zealand the weak link in the global info-wars?

The Spinoff | 28 Aug 2016

Jose Barbosa talks to Adam Boileau of Insomnia Security about hacking thriller Mr Robot, and New Zealand’s place in the info-war web.

The much anticipated Mr Robot season two is on Lightbox. To get everyone’s head in the right place José Barbosa talks to Adam Boileau, a computer security specialist for Insomnia Security. He’s also the owner/operator of Kiwicon and is the co-host of Risky Business, a weekly podcast about the information security industry.

The two bearded men talk about Mr Robot’s depiction of hackers; the current flap over the leaked DNC emails and the likelihood of Russia being involved; and NZ’s place in the info wars. Spoiler: if someone’s going to let the team down, it’s probably going to be us.

Stream or download the podcast below. You can also read on for a full transcript (edited for clarity and length). Also subscribe to our main podcast feed via iTunes or search for The Spinoff – Pop Up Pods in your favourite client

Listen to podcast

What are your thoughts on Mr Robot, coming from the cybersecurity industry? Does it get it right?

Compared to other portrayals of hacking and computer security in the mainstream media, it’s by far one of the better examples. There are some areas where they’ve had to make things a bit more friendly to TV, like how they all hang out together in the same physical space. Meeting each other physically isn’t really reflective of the hacker world. Naturally, we use the internet to communicate and a lot of hacker crews operate having never met each other, or even being in the same city.

The actual technical bits are, by and large, on point. The hacker community traditionally identifies more with the classic 1994 movie Hackers. The hacking sequences are complete rubbish, but the social aspects are more accurate. But the representations of how they go about doing their various things in Mr Robot is really the best representation we’ve seen in a mainstream show.

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