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Top documentary films about hacking and cybersecurity

Online security is a serious business and we at Avira pride ourselves on giving you the necessary support for a safe and private digital life. But that’s not all we do. We also want to help you learn more about the internet as a whole and better understand topics related to cybersecurity.

We know it can be overwhelming at times to keep up the latest security and privacy issues in the ever-changing technological landscape, so we’ve come up with a fun way to help. Here’s our pick of the top documentaries that will give you a better view of cybersecurity and hackers in a more entertaining way than usual.

CODE 2600

Released in 2012, this documentary explores the rise of the Information Technology Age, as seen by the people who helped build it and through the events that shaped it. The movie takes you through a large portion of the history of computers, touching on aspects from each period. The documentary delves into the history of our internet world and how hacking has gone from hobby to national security concern. Watching it will give you a better understanding of computer security and the term “hackers”. Some even say that it should be shown to children as an educational tool.

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An American documentary originally titled “Can You Hack It?”, this movie was never officially released but has been leaked to various file-sharing websites. Exploring the origins of the hacking and nature of hackers, it tells the story of Adrián Alfonso, a threat analyst and hacker, who became famous after breaking into several high-profile computer networks, including those of The New York Times, Yahoo!, and Microsoft.

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Another movie portraying the hacker community is “Hackers are People Too”, released in 2008. The documentary offers a funny and insightful view of the hacker mindset with the hopes to break down some negative stereotypes. Created by actual hackers, it puts together dozens of interviews filmed during two hacker conferences. Viewers get a closer look at what hacking is, the way hackers think, how hackers are portrayed in the media, and women in the security/hacking field.

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White, black, grey hat hackers… when it comes to hacking, probably the first thought is of a threat and malicious attacks. But there is so much more. “Hackers in Wonderland” is another movie that delves into the stories of notorious hackers to reveal what drives them. The documentary comprises interviews with hackers in the United Kingdom and the United States, sharing their opinions about hacktivism. The hackers include ColdFire, Phobos, and cyberjunkie, if those names ring a bell.

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SNOWDEN (2016)

There are lots of movies about hacking and cybersecurity featuring leaks of classified national defense information. But if you want to see one based on true events, “Snowden” is considered one of the most important and pivotal government whistleblower stories in modern times. While working for the National Security Agency, Edward Snowden uncovered and revealed to the world the virtual mountain of data that was being collected on allied foreign governments and American citizens alike. This movie covers just about everything cybersecurity-related: computer security, personal privacy, data security, government surveillance, public policy, and national security.

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“The Defenders” takes you behind-the-scenes of famous cyberattacks and the people tasked with keeping the institutions safe. The documentary features the story of the six cyberthreats that occurred during the London 2012 Summer Olympics, the New York Times data breach, the Sony Pictures cyberattack when five movies, hundreds of social security numbers, and thousands of emails were released to the public; and a ransomware attack on the San Francisco public transit system.

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Content Manager
Former journalist. Storyteller at heart.
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