The new hacker series took the world by storm. It is the first show that comes extremely close to reality, especially when it comes to hacking. The usual way of portraying black hatters is as weak nerds, glued to a computer at all times, typing away like mad. This stereotype is completely broken in Mr. Robot, and experts agree that this portrayal is much closer to reality.
Eliot is a type of hacker who steals information so he could make sense of the world around him. He is a social outcast who had a problematic childhood, which explains his semi-autistic behavior and substance abuse. This is very true for a lot of hackers, as they have a completely different set of skills, most of which are not applicable in everyday life.
When it comes to his own security, Eliot guards his source code with his life. He is extremely cautious about someone finding a bug in his code and trying to use the information against him. He fears that he would then lose control over things and people in his life. Eliot’s character is for these reasons very believable, and comes extremely close to reality.
Hacking Toward Social Justice
By day, Eliot works in a cyber security company, conveniently called Allsafe. By night, however, he investigates various people and their (criminal) activities. He hacks them and then reports them to authorities, not wanting any money. He also has a thing towards helping damsels in distress. He seems to have a strong sense of social justice and ethics, but at the same time he commits crimes himself, as he is not a real authority.
In one episode, a guy ran a child pornography site. Eliot did everything to get the guy cornered, hacked his network and met him in a cafe. The perpetrator thought that the hacker wants money, but in reality he already called the police. He just wanted justice.
Being highly intelligent has many drawbacks, especially in the case of the show’s protagonist. Eliot is a computer wiz, who doesn’t have control over people in his life unless he hacks them. This brings him security, and in this light hacking is considered to be his coping mechanism.
Though he manages to live like this for a while, mathematical and logical solutions cannot help him with his addiction problem. He takes morphine, and as a way to get out of using it, he immediately takes anti-addiction drugs. This show that he is a problem solver, but not entirely in touch with reality.
The Actual Hacking
What is extremely admirable is that hacking in this show is the same as in reality. According to experts, on screen hacking is authentic along with the lingo they use. The aforementioned criminal that Eliot turned to police used Tor network to keep his anonymity and encrypt his traffic and data. What Eliot did is he took control of the Tor’s exit nodes which then leaked plain text. Who controls the nodes, controls the traffic. Eliot also references rootkits, Linux, DAT. files and Gnome. This segment and alike are highly accurate and this is where the show gets it viability.
We can see another authenticity when E-corp gets hacked. He wants too find out whether it is a DDoS or a R.U.D.Y. attack. What happened was that a worm was planted in the E-corp’s servers. This scenario is extremely close to reality, and that is why it holds so much weight. There are also examples of password cracking, with a software that Eliot uses. He feeds the algorithm with some personal information of the target, such as girlfriends name, date of birth, etc. The software then, after a minute or so, cracks the password just by randomizing various options. This is a serious matter, and those of us who use a remote login software are much more secure than those who don’t, as was the case in the series.
To sum up
Mr. Robot is very accurate in terms of hacking, the vocabulary, the personality of the hacker and his life. It is the very first series to have ever come close to portrayal of people in that world and now anyone can get themselves acquainted with the renegades that hackers are.