[ISN] Why I Hope Congress Never Watches Blackhat

http://www.wired.com/2015/01/why-i-hope-congress-never-watches-blackhat/ By Kevin Poulsen Threat Level Wired.com 01.16.15 What a strange time. Last week I was literally walking the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of Michael Mann’s Blackhat, a crime thriller that I had the good fortune to work on as a “hacker adviser” (my actual screen credit). Today, all I’m thinking is, please, God, don’t let anybody in Congress see the film. I’ll explain my anxiety in a minute. First, the movie: Mann, the legendary director of hardboiled crime films like Heat, Collateral, and Miami Vice, always has been a stickler for authenticity, and he brought me into Blackhat as an adviser early on, before it had a title or a lead actor. If you’re wondering how one gets involved in a Michael Mann film, here’s how it works: Mann calls you on the phone. You think, “Why is Michael Mann calling me?” After a phone conversation and an interview in Los Angeles, you’re officially invited on board as a consultant. It turned out Blackhat’s screenwriter had read my cybercrime book Kingpin, and he’d suggested me to Mann. When I showed up for my first consulting meeting, I expected to find a roomful of people crowded around a long conference table. Instead, it was just me and Mann, sitting in his office for five hours at a time. He had questions about malware, hacking, how modern computer intrusions play out. For subsequent meetings, I was given the current iteration of the screenplay (watermarked with my name, lest I leak it to the Pirate Bay), and we went over it line by line, looking at dialogue, discussing tweaks to the hacking and forensics scenes, and working on some of the procedural elements in the plot. Later, Mann brought in a second computer consultant, OkCupid hacker Chris McKinley, to write code for the movie and train leading man Chris Hemsworth in Linux basics, making Hemsworth officially the best-looking human to ever use a command line. […]