Breaking In# mv humor /dev/null

Out of a combination of boredom and morbid curiosity I tried watching the premier of Breaking In, Fox's new penetration tester 'comedy'. Having done so I regret it and I would like that 30 minutes of my life back, I could have enjoyed myself more by spending it reinstalling Win 98.
While I could spend a paragraph or three complaining about the superficial wooden acting or the formulaic casting but you wouldn't be reading this blog if you cared about that more than about how they treat the profession of penetration testing and information security and the world of hacking.

So, how much penetration testing does go on in the show? Not much, except maybe superficially, and even then it tends to resemble something Tom Cruise does in a movie rather than Sneakers, much less real life. Occasionally the writers will remember that it's supposed to be set in a security company so they will have a character drilling a safe or bring up a character's past cracking his college's admissions and grading systems. Instead of trying to show any element of actual hacking, cracking, social engineering, or security testing the characters walk around putting on fake accents that would make Keanu Reeves cringe, clicking a hyperlink that changes their college tuition counter to a page saying "You graduated!" or tossing around buzzwords that sound like they were lifted from a news paper 'computer security for morons' column ten years ago. The core cast is stocked with 'hackers' and 'security geniuses' whose credentials seem to exist because they decided they do and their work seems to be a slim presence for 'geeky' pop culture references and the nominal hero character to feel awkward fro the audience's amusement. In the whole half hour the closest I got to laughing was when the 'hero' (who has been tasked to steal a car from a high end dealership) announces "They should really have a gate here." and heaves a rock through the showroom window.

Maybe I was expecting too much from Fox, too much from a comedy and too much from Hollywood in general. Just once I would like to see a program that treats the subjects of technology and security with some dignity and seriousness, and obviously this isn't it.