My name is Lexi Carmichael and I have a problem with most of today’s television programming. Not because of the sheer implausibility of a majority of the shows—although that does factor—but because too many programs seem to feature a tech genius who can solve the problems of the world with one stroke of a keyboard.
Here’s how it happens… a tech head is desperately trying to hack into a system. Death, the collapse of the free world, or the apocalypse is imminent if he fails. (Yes, tech heroes always seem to be guys since I guess in Hollywood a woman doesn’t know her way around a keyboard.) He types commands frantically as the clock ticks down to Doomsday. As the scenario continues, our frazzled hero takes a moment to run his fingers through his perfectly styled hair before he types just one more command and bingo, he’s in. He’ll then have a whole millisecond to navigate a completely unfamiliar system, find the magic switch, and shut down the entire system in time to save the day, world, girl, whatever, with one stroke. All of this while the super expensive, cutting-edge government system or expensive black-market technology used by the show's villain will aid our intrepid hero by providing helpful visual prompts like Access Denied or Access Granted in big bold letters across the screen as he works his hacking magic.
Just shoot me.
I’m a real hacker and yes, I’m female. I double-majored in mathematics and computer science at Georgetown University and have spent most of my twenty-five years learning how to bypass cryptographic protocols, exploit system vulnerabilities, and finesse distributed denial of service attacks. I’ve never had to avert an apocalypse, but if I did, I’m pretty sure it would take more than one freaking minute, and I wouldn’t be worried about my hair while doing it. My first successful hack on a relatively simple system took five hours. It might have taken four, but my mom kept distracting me by yelling through my bedroom door that if I gave ballet class just one more try she’d give me a hundred dollars to spend however I wanted. So, watching these types of shows and movies is hard on both my nerves and stomach.
© Julie Moffett No Biz Like Showbiz Excerpt