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What War Games teaches us about security (Part 1)

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Posted on July 4, 2012 by

I recently re-watched War Games, the 1983 movie staring Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy. If you haven’t seen it, stop. Go watch it. We’ll play a game of chess while we wait for you.

One of the great things about War Games is that it shows a fairly realistic depiction of a hack. At the beginning of the movie, we see David Lightman use a Wardialer to find phone numbers connected to modems. It turns out NORAD had left a phone line exposed to the outside and that allowed David Lightman to access the WOPR. Later on in the movie, one of the Sys Admins at NORAD said, “The phone company screwed up! They exposed a phone line.” This leads us to our first lesson. (more…)