Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hack it! - A TV Show Idea

This was an idea for a TV show I had right before falling asleep one night. Unfortunately I don't have the ability to execute such a show, so I figured I'd share the idea online for those who do since I think it has a lot of potential.  If you are interested in picking it up, feel free to, though I'd love to help out where I can if possible, as well as some credit!

The idea for this TV show is to create a small group of people to do penetration testing for small business owners and follow them around on these "adventures".  For those who don't know, penetration testing is where a company goes into another company's network and attempts to break-in or "hack" it to access things they shouldn't, take it down, or just generally do bad things on the network.  Usually the penetration testing company doesn't actually break things, they just find out whether the other company's systems are vulnerable or not.  The other company can then fix these things, and prevent real hackers from doing damage to their systems.

There would of course need to be a deal with
Warner Bros. Pictures for the mandatory Matrix effects
Once the group of penetration testers is created and setup, they could then go to businesses that would like to make sure their systems are secure.  The businesses would give them the necessary permissions (mostly none) and waivers (to prevent lawsuits), and then the penetration testers could look over what possible problems the network has.  Camera crews could then interview each person during this time, and show each member testing out their different hacks, as well as describing what exactly they are doing from a technical standpoint.  Once the job is done, the company would then patch their systems, and the episode could be released safely, with no harm to either side.

I think a show like this has a ton of potential, especially when it comes to showing a different way to portray hackers.  Right now there is a lot of negativity towards hackers, especially in the eyes of the law.  Under the current United States' laws specifically, hacking is considered an act of terrorism, and has severe consequences.  This in turn makes many people skeptical of those who do claim to be hackers, as well as deters people from learning the skills outside of school.  This creates an even bigger problem, as hacking isn't something that can be easily taught in schools.  In fact, just going from what I've tried at my own university, creating an educational environment for hacking is incredibly tough, mainly because of the intense setup required.  When you setup these systems you have to make sure you won't get into trouble with how you access them and that accidents don't happen (which they will), or at least that accidents won't affect other systems at the school.

This show could help bring awareness of these issues to more people, and also bring awareness to these services and why they are important to have.  With the number of websites that run into issues nowadays, I think this is an issue that should be advertise, and this show could be the perfect way to do so in a safe and public environment.  It would also provide a good resource and insight to those who want to learn how to do penetration testing.

I would love any feedback on such a show in the comments below!  Have your own TV show idea?  Feel free to share it here too!