Monday, December 3, 2012

Skyfall: The makers of the film caught 'Technically'

We have been watching James Bond movies since decades in which the mighty 007 is equipped with technology one had never seen before and we were really over awed. 

But those were the times when technology and its related development was known to a few in a few countries. Those countries which had still not been linked via internet and had no access to the emerging technological developments sat with their mouths wide open seeing Mr Bond coming out one magic after the other.

However, now that even access to internet and smartphones is availble in some of the remotest areas of the world, the viewers are much wiser and can not be taken for a ride by the Bond gimmics.

The latest James Bond film Skyfall has thus been subjected to scruitny and many lapses have been noted by technology geeks, which from now on make the makers of Bond movies and other technological intensive movies much more alert not to err technologically, lest they are caught.

Some of the errors observed by Kevin Curran, a technical expert for internet and security matters at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in the Skyfall are as under:

1- One of the most glaring errors occurs in the most crucial scene between the cyber-terrorist bad guy Raoul Silva and Bond, who is tied up throughout to a chair. In the scene, the large room is dominated by the racks of computers that allow Silva to conduct his cyber-attacks.
What is striking to a geek like me however is:

  • A room full of computing hardware would have to be air-conditioned to keep the temperature of the servers down. Despite the precarious situation Bond was in, all I could think about was the potential of a fire caused by overheating throughout this scene.
  • The complete absence of background noise despite the room being filled up with computers - the humming noise of computers was not at all audible!
Later we see an active hacking attempt on MI6 by Silva with Q and Bond watching an animation that represents the code involved in the attack. What you would actually see would be a plain command line - very dull admittedly. If you were very lucky you might have a mirror image of the attacker's screen but clever graphics? Not likely.
Again, we security geeks are asked to suspend our knowledge of the complexities of cryptography when we find Bond being able to decipher part of the code in order to spot Granborough Road Tube station embedded in the cipher.
We all know Code-breaking is incredibly difficult, just ask the poor people at GCHQ who only last week had to admit they were stumped by a 70-year-old message taped to the leg of a dead pigeon, and can really only be done nowadays by large amounts of computing power.
There is more to the technological lapses which you may like to read Here.

But hopefully next Bond movie will be made in consultation with technology and security geeks rather than a plain writer with some knowledge of computers and past films, thinking all those watching are goofs.

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