Hacking Humans Goes to the Movies 8.6.23
Ep 21 | 8.6.23

Are you pretending to be Russian?


Unidentified Person: [Music] Parramatta, a bottle of wine quickly.

Unidentified Person: Perhaps a 69 Merlot.

Dave Bittner: Hello everyone and welcome to a special edition of the "Hacking Humans Podcast," an occasional series we call hacking humans goes to the movies. I'm Dave Bittner: , and joining me is my Cyberwire colleague, Rick Howard: . Hi, Rick.

Rick Howard: Hey, Dave, what's going on?

Dave Bittner: On this show, Rick and I look at some of our favorite clips from cinema and television. Clips which demonstrate some of the scams and schemes Joe Kerrigan and I talk about on Hacking Humans. We've got some fun clips to share so stay tuned. We'll be right back after this message from our show sponsor. All right. We are back. And Rick, I have to say when I was looking through the show notes, and I saw the clip that you selected for this week's show, I got a big smile on my face. [Laughing] I think for nerds like us --

Rick Howard: This is it.

Dave Bittner: -- you and I, and I say.

Rick Howard: This is NIrvana.

Dave Bittner: I say that in the most, yeah, in the most affectionate way. It doesn't get much better than this clip. [Laughing] So what do you got for us here, my friend?

Rick Howard: Well, I am in total agreement, David. In my clip this week is from the 1982 movie Star Trek, The Wrath of Khan, arguably the best Star Trek movie in the franchise of 13 movies. And I'm going to die on that particular nerd hill. I look forward to your cards and letters. All right. So it was directed by Nicholas Meyer, probably most famous for this movie and another in the franchise, Star Trek 6, The Undiscovered Country nine years later. And in this scene, we have a perfect example of a failed Starfleet identity and Access Management Program, and a less than well thought out zero trust strategy deployment. Captain Kirk, the commander of the USS Enterprise, played by the indomitable William Shatner, is trying to take control of another Starfleet's vessel's industrial control systems from the USS Reliant because Kirk's nemesis, Khan, played by the fabulous Ricardo Montalban in a sneak attack has crippled the Enterprise's combat and navigation systems. So in this clip, you're going to hear from Kirstie Alley, she plays the Vulcan Lieutenant Savak. Jetson Scott, Ricardo Montalban's number one, and a small bit from George Takei playing Sulu, the Enterprises navigation and weapons officer. And the late great Leonard Nimoy, Kirk science officer. So let's play the clip. [Music]

Unidentified Person: Khan.

Unidentified Person: You still remember. I cannot help [inaudible]. I of course remember you.

Unidentified Person: What is the meaning of this attack? Where's the crew of the Reliant?

Unidentified Person: Surely I have made my meaning plain. I mean to avenge.

Rick Howard: Does he look fabulous? Come on, that is amazing.

Dave Bittner: He does.

Unidentified Person: I defied your ship of powder and when I swing around, I mean to deprive you of your life. But I wanted you to know first who it was who had beaten you.

Unidentified Person: Khan, if it's me want you want, I'll have myself beamed aboard. Spare my crew.

Unidentified Person: I make you a counterproposal. I'll agree to your terms if, if, in addition to yourself, you hand over to me all data and material regarding the project called the Genesis.

Rick Howard: Genesis is the MacGuffin, that they're all fighting for [inaudible].

Unidentified Person: Intelligence.

Dave Bittner: Right.

Unidentified Person: Give me some time to recall the data on our computers.

Dave Bittner: I mean, it's really the plot of the next movie, right?

Rick Howard: Yeah, it is. Kirk's looking around his crowd, his crew on the bridge. Tells everybody get off the bridge.

Dave Bittner: He's pretty beat up too, right?

Rick Howard: Yeah, smoke and --

Dave Bittner: And Khan came at him.

Rick Howard: Yep.

Unidentified Person: At least we know he doesn't have Genesis. Keep nodding as I'm still getting out of here.

[ Inaudible speaker ]

Unidentified Person: Uncheck the data charts of the last command constant.

Unidentified Person: The last command?

Unidentified Person: Forty-five seconds.

Unidentified Person: If we fix code [inaudible].

[ Music ]

Rick Howard: Fabulous [inaudible].

Dave Bittner: So we got a time limit here.

Rick Howard: Yes, we do.

Unidentified Person: I know. We're finding it. Admiral, please, please. You've got to give us time. The bridge is smashed, the computer's inoperative.

Unidentified Person: Time is a luxury you don't have any more.

Rick Howard: I love the way Kirk plays it, a haphazard captain, he doesn't know what's going on. [Laughing] He's putting on his glasses to read the code.

Unidentified Person: Admiral, it's coming through now [inaudible]. Line time.

Rick Howard: Reliance coming around to fire the next shot.

Unidentified Person: We fix numbers, 16309.

Unidentified Person: I can't understand.

Unidentified Person: [Inaudible] why things work [inaudible] each ship has its own combination code to prevent an enemy from doing or attempting. Using our console to order Reliant to lower [inaudible].

Unidentified Person: Assuming he hasn't changed the combination, he's quite intelligent.

Unidentified Person: Fifteen seconds, Admiral.

Unidentified Person: [Music] Khan, how do we know you'll keep your word?

Unidentified Person: Well I've given you no word [inaudible]. In my judgment, you simply have no alternative.

Unidentified Person: I see your point. Standby to receive our transmission. Soon want the phasers on target, with my command. Phasers log.

Unidentified Person: Times up.

Unidentified Person: Here it comes. Now. [Beeping sound]

Unidentified Person: They're entering the five digit password.

Unidentified Person: Sir, our fields are dropping.

Unidentified Person: Raise them.

Unidentified Person: I can't.

Unidentified Person: Wait, the override, the override.

Rick Howard: Oh, yeah.

Unidentified Person: Fire.

Rick Howard: You know, fried feelings of justice here. [Laughing]

Unidentified Person: Fire. Fire.

Unidentified Person: We can't fire, sir.

Unidentified Person: Why is that [inaudible]?

Unidentified Person: They damaged the [inaudible] and the warp drive? We must withdraw.

Unidentified Person: No. No.

Unidentified Person: We must.

[ Music ]

Unidentified Person: Enterprise, wait.

Unidentified Person: She's not going anywhere.

Rick Howard: Excellent. Okay. Well, that is some good movie making there, Dave. [Laughing] Okay. I'm just saying.

Dave Bittner: Hey, Rick, do you follow the theory that all of the even numbered Star Trek movies are good and the odd number ones are not? Have you heard that one?

Rick Howard: I have heard of it. And I am not going to argue against it. [Laughing]

Dave Bittner: Okay. Fair enough. Fair enough. It doesn't get much better to this. And I have to say that when you have two actors like William Shatner, and Ricardo Montalban simultaneously chewing on the scenery.

Rick Howard: Yeah.

Dave Bittner: Right. All you need is Christopher Walken and you rip a hole in the space time continuum, but this is so good.

Rick Howard: So such a great movie.

Dave Bittner: Unpack it for us here. What's going on from a security point of view?

Rick Howard: Well, I got three things to note here. So ultimately, the good guys won here, but, you know, the Federation's InfoSec Program is, you know, not that good, I'm afraid. So, you know, first, it has a flawed zero trust policy that allows every ship's captain to possess the password to every other ship in the fleet. That's probably not a very good idea. Why do they need that? That's definitely does not follow, you know, the need to know idea of zero trust. Okay. So, you know, and I never thought about that till I took this job. All right. And looked at that clipping and went, oh, that's definitely another four zero trust. And we've already talked about the security policy for the Federation that allows five digit passwords. I'm just saying, right? Even at N2K, we have a nine digit password policy, right? And so,.

Dave Bittner: And at a minimum, and this is five digits. This is just numeric.

Rick Howard: Yeah, digits. No special letters, no other letters, just numbers [inaudible]. So, yeah, [inaudible].

Dave Bittner: Right.

Rick Howard: And then finally, some 260 years in the future from today according to Google's barbed@google.com. I looked it up. Okay. We are still using passwords. And that's just depressing. I'm just going to say, you know, you would think that in a world of warp drives, transporter beams, and the Vulcan mind mound, we'd figured out something better by now than a five digit password to secure the Federation's space fleet. Gee whiz, okay. [Laughing]

Dave Bittner: Yeah. Yeah. It's no wonder they got their butts handed to them by the Borg. [Laughing]

Rick Howard: Exactly right. I was reading some trivia about the movie. You know, we were talking about Ricardo Montalban and William Shatner. Because of the way they did these scenes, they were never in the room, same room together. They were speaking to each other through view screens from each show. So they were acting by themselves in an empty room, and then they put it all together for the movie. So that's a shame. I can't imagine how even better the whole movie would be if those two guys were on the same set and you know reacting to each other.

Dave Bittner: Yeah. I wonder this movie was made in 1982. Right?

Rick Howard: Yeah.

Dave Bittner: Same summer that Raider of the Lost Arc came out.

Rick Howard: Yeah.

Dave Bittner: Good summer for movies. [Laughing]

Rick Howard: My goodness, yeah, we were so spoiled.

Dave Bittner: Right. Yeah. When you look at the state of where we were with computers, so we're still in the leading edge of the eight bit computer era.

Rick Howard: Mm-hmm.

Dave Bittner: Most people's computers aren't hooked up to anything resembling a network. You might have a 300 or 1,200 baud modem.

Rick Howard: Maybe, yeah.

Dave Bittner: Chances are there is nothing on your computer that is password protected.

Rick Howard: No.

Dave Bittner: There's no login on your computer, you power it up, you know, basic pops up and you start going through your floppy drives.

Rick Howard: You thought you were fancy back then if you got to the command line and did a dir command, you know, a direct command.

Dave Bittner: Right. So is this for its time would a viewer of this have considered it to be advanced technology?

Rick Howard: Oh, of course. Okay. That's what fun about coming back to these movies so many years ago, right?

Dave Bittner: Yeah.

Rick Howard: But I think the dichotomy though, is that there for a science fiction show, they can dream up, you know, warp drive, okay. And, oh, we're going to be able to travel fast or almost faster than light speed. But they put no thought into the actual security part of it. Oh, we're going to -- we're just going to do what we're doing today. I just love that. Okay. It makes it even more charming, okay, as a movie.

Dave Bittner: Yeah. What is they say call it yesterday's view of tomorrow?

Rick Howard: Yeah. Yeah. That's very good.

Dave Bittner: Yeah. All right. Well, it doesn't get much better than that. And now that I'm thinking about this, I probably should have let you go second. Because --

Rick Howard: No, no, you're could of, I love [inaudible], okay. There's some great people in this. I can't hardly wait to talk about it. [Laughing]

Dave Bittner: Okay. So my movie this week. This is a film called Heartbreakers, and this is a 2001, Wikipedia calls it an American romantic crime comedy. That's a blend, right?

Rick Howard: Yeah, what is that?

Dave Bittner: Directed by David Mirkin, starring Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ray Liotta, Jason Lee, and the great Gene Hackman.

Rick Howard: Wow, what a cast. My goodness.

Dave Bittner: Yeah. There's a small appearance by Anne Bancroft. Evidently, this was her last film appearance before she passed away a couple years later.

Rick Howard: Wow.

Dave Bittner: I was not aware of this film.

Rick Howard: I wasn't either.

Dave Bittner: It got mixed reviews. And Roger Ebert loved it. Well, he gave it three out of four stars and said, basically, that the film accomplishes what it sets out to do, which is to make you laugh, as a comedy. And I think that I could see why that happens. But let me dig into what this is about. So this is about a mother daughter con artist team. And that's Max and Paige Connors, and that's the couple played by Sigourney Weaver. She plays the mom and Jennifer Love Hewitt is her daughter. And so they are serial con artists, and very often ripping off unsuspecting men. The movie starts out with Sigourney Weaver's character at her wedding to Ray Liotta's wedding. And quickly they set up her catching him in a compromising position with the Jennifer Love Hewitt character who Ray Liotta doesn't know is her daughter, and she's in a disguise and, you know, all these things happen. But throughout the movie, they're pulling cons. And so I want to start out, I've actually got three different clips from this film that I'm going to share here. This first one is pretty short. This, in this clip, we start off we see the two of them the mother and daughter, they're in a restaurant, and we join them. They've been having a conversation here, and we see that Sigourney Weaver's character, she's pulling a ashtray off the table, wrapping a napkin around it, a cloth napkin, and she's about to hit it with the heel of her shoe. And we join them when that's inaction. [Music] They're in a fancy restaurant. She breaks the ashtray and she sprinkles the glass on her dinner plate.

Unidentified Person: Oh, my Lord.

Unidentified Person: What seems to be the problem, madam?

Unidentified Person: Well, I was just about to take a bite and I saw glass. Look.

Unidentified Person: I am so sorry, ma'am. This has never happened. Of course your meal is a complimentary. Armando, a bottle of wine quickly.

Unidentified Person: Perhaps a '69 merlot.

Dave Bittner: So, right. [Laughing] So not only does she get the two of them get the free meal, but she gets what I'm assuming is a premium bottle of wine as well.

Rick Howard: I have seen that particular con in lots of movies, right where they throw something into the food and then claim that it's so bad they need a replacement. So that's a good one. That's a nice trophy to go to.

Dave Bittner: Yeah. I wonder how often do restaurants have to deal with that? Like, you know, I found a bug in my food once.

Rick Howard: Yeah.

Dave Bittner: But I don't think I've ever found a piece of glass.

Rick Howard: Yeah, glass seems extremely. She put the whole thing in there. Right. It wasn't like one or two pieces. Right. So that seems really odd. Okay.

Dave Bittner: Right.

Rick Howard: You know, I'm one of those rule followers, Dave, so I wouldn't. I would never do that. Right. Because I knew I would get caught. That's the only reason I'm a rule follower is because I know I'm going to get caught. I wouldn't have the gumption to do what they do here. So I guess restaurants deal with this all the time.

Dave Bittner: I guess so. There's another scene right after this in the YouTube clip we're going to share where the two of them are walking through a hotel lobby, and they pull off a slip and fall scam where Sigourney Weaver actually trips Jennifer Love Hewitt's character who then falls on the floor and after she falls on the floor Sigourney Weaver has a little bottle that she sprays a bunch of water on the marble floor of the hotel lobby to make it seem as though the hotel was negligent. So they'll come after them. But the main part of this story involves a character played by Gene Hackman. And he is an elderly executive with a tobacco company. And he is a chain smoker. And he's always got a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and is talking about all the great things about smoking and how sexy it is when women smoke and how they're trying to, how important smoking is for a child's development, you know things like that. [Laughing] So, what happens is Sigourney Weaver's character, she basically they plot a black widow scheme against this gentleman, right? So the plan is she's going to marry him, he's wealthy, he will then die. I assume they're going, you know, come up with some way to bump him off, and then they will get all of his money.

Rick Howard: As you --

Dave Bittner: So she pretends to be Russian. She adopts the Person: a of a Russian woman. And in this next scene, she and Gene Hackman are in a Russian restaurant together, and the Russian waiter comes to serve her a meal, but she doesn't actually speak Russian. So I'm going to play the clip here. [Music] She's eating, enjoying the meal.

Unidentified Person: I love to watch a woman eat. It is surely one of the most central acts.

Dave Bittner: Here comes the waiter.

[ Foreign language ]

Unidentified Person: No.

Rick Howard: The waiter knows, he doesn't get it.

Dave Bittner: Right. So the waiter senses she doesn't speak Russian, because all she says is da.

[ Foreign language ]

Dave Bittner: So the waiter says something just crass to her.

Unidentified Person: Da, da.

Dave Bittner: And she says yes, yes.

Unidentified Person: It's such joy to hear my native tongue again. I deeply appreciate what you say. And what you don't say.

[ Music ]

Dave Bittner: So she hands the waiter a wad of money, probably a $20 bill or something like that and basically gives him the message, hey, beat it, you know, clam up. Don't ruin this for me. And the waiter knows what's up.

Rick Howard: I love this, because she's trying to pull this off as she speaks Russian. She's halfway through it, and then she realizes that the waiter is [inaudible].

Dave Bittner: Right.

Rick Howard: And she changes gears on the fly and figures out a way to get him out of there without letting the cat out of the bag to Gene Hackman, which is sitting, what, two feet from her. Right?

Dave Bittner: Right.

Rick Howard: Just amazing. Amazing.

Dave Bittner: Totally cool. Right.

Rick Howard: Yeah.

Dave Bittner: Totally cool.

Rick Howard: Yeah. Clearly had done something like that in her past. Yeah. [Laughing]

Dave Bittner: Right. So the last thing I'm going to share here, this is where Gene Hackman gives her a gift. And we'll take it from there. They're back at Gene Hackman house and she is taking a nap. And Gene Hackman comes up to her with a gift, and I think at first she's hoping that the gift is an engagement ring. But it turns out it's a cigarette lighter.

[ Music ]

Rick Howard: Gene, with a cigarette in his mouth again.

Unidentified Person: I have a gift for you.

Unidentified Person: A gift? [Foreign language] oh. [Laughing] Oh, [foreign language].

Unidentified Person: I'm not insisting you take up smoking, but I thought it would give you some incentive. There is nothing sexier than smoke billowing proudly out of a woman's hot red engorged nostrils. [Laughing]

Unidentified Person: That image will haunt me.

[ Laughing ]

Unidentified Person: Your was another [inaudible].

Unidentified Person: So they're walking up the steps in his house now.

Unidentified Person: I think that I deserve a big kiss for that big gift.

Unidentified Person: Oh, yes.

Dave Bittner: He takes a big drag on his cigarette.

Rick Howard: Which is very sexy. He blows the smoke in her face.

Unidentified Person: Oh no, we mustn't, God is everywhere.

Unidentified Person: Yes, he is, isn't he? Nosy bastard. [Laughing] Oh, I'll have Miss Madras get your purse.

Dave Bittner: So Hackman leaves, and we see his live in maid.

Unidentified Person: Is that repulsive to you?

Unidentified Person: No, he's a Russian expression of happiness. Boy, boy, I'm so happy.

Unidentified Person: Save it. I'm on to you. You are attracted to me. Oh, flattering, but I know those females.

Unidentified Person: I've been with him for seven years. I've seen him with many women. I've never worried, passing amusements. But you, oh, you're good, baby.

Unidentified Person: I know understand. What is you want?

Unidentified Person: I is want your ex-Commie ass out of his life. I didn't put up with his crap for years just to be squeezed out right before he kicks. I put in the time and I expect a big payoff.

Unidentified Person: Oh, you must believe I have true feelings for him.

Unidentified Person: Oh, spare me your Bolshevik bullshit. Either you disappear or I tell him exactly what I saw.

Unidentified Person: Your dog honesty is refreshing, but please, I beg you, leave me one more night to bow out gracefully.

Rick Howard: [Laughing] Love it. Yeah.

Dave Bittner: By the way, the maid is played by Nora Dunn who --

Rick Howard: Yeah.

Dave Bittner: -- I recognize from Saturday Night Live.

Rick Howard: I was just looking that up as we were playing it. I know her. Who is she? Who is she? I'm glad you brought that up. She's fabulous.

Dave Bittner: Yes. Yeah. Great comedian. And I mean, this movie, you look at the cast list for this. Not only are the stars that we mentioned here, but like Nora Dunn, Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifianakis --

Rick Howard: Wow.

Dave Bittner: -- Carrie Fisher, Kevin Nealon, I mean, it's just --

Rick Howard: The whole crew of Saturday Night Live.

Dave Bittner: -- it's a who's who. [Laughing] It's a mixed bag. I mean, you can see it's a light movie, it's funny, it's silly. It's not great. But if you were looking for something entertaining for an evening, you just wanted to have a few laughs and suspend your disbelief --

Rick Howard: Well --

Dave Bittner: -- this may be a good film.

Rick Howard: I would just --

Dave Bittner: So what do you make of this?

Rick Howard: I will just say that, you know, I became aware of Sigourney Weaver, you know, when she did Alien back in 1979. And for men of a particular age like we are, okay, that was prime, prime science fiction stuff on the movie theater screens, right? And --

Dave Bittner: Right.

Rick Howard: -- and I have been in love with Sigourney Weaver ever since then. In fact, my daughter and I just watched the Aliens, the sequel to it, which is still excellent, right?

Dave Bittner: Oh, yeah.

Rick Howard: And so anything that she does, I'm going to be there. Okay. So.

Dave Bittner: I'm with you. And as you say, Aliens were, I mean, you talk about setting the mold for the strong female character in a movie, the strong female lead. I mean, she certainly does that. And then, of course, Ghostbusters, Avatar. What's the one she did with Harrison Ford where she was the boss?

Rick Howard: Oh, working women I think is --

Dave Bittner: Working Girl.

Rick Howard: Yeah, Working Girl. Yeah.

Dave Bittner: Yeah, Working Girl. Yeah. I mean, so many movies. But you're right. I mean, ooh. Phenomenal actress but also just a beautiful woman. No doubt about it.

Rick Howard: And Gene Hackman, okay, come on. He's done some of the best movies we've had in our lifetime, Dave, right? And he usually plays the strong badass, you know, kick ass kind of guy, right?. And it's fun to watch him here playing this creepy old dude running a tobacco company who's, I don't know, it's just fun to watch him, you know, stretch a little bit, so totally I could see where I would love this movie.

Dave Bittner: [Laughing] It's one of those movies where it just seems like everybody's having a good time.

Rick Howard: Yeah.

Dave Bittner: And to certain degree, they're probably winking at the camera a little bit, but not too much.

Rick Howard: Yeah. [Music] I totally agree. Good recommendation. That's a great, that's a great thing, yeah.

Dave Bittner: All right. Again, that's Heartbreakers, movie from 2001. [Music]

Dave Bittner: All right. Well, that is our show. We want to thank all of you for listening. We would love to know what you think of this podcast. You can email us at hackinghumans@n2k.com. N2K's strategic workforce intelligence optimizes the value of your biggest investment, your people. We make you smarter about your team while making your team smarter. Learn more at n2k.com. Our senior producer is Jennifer Eiben. This show is edited by Elliott Peltzman. Our executive editor is Peter Kilpe. I'm Dave Bittner .

Rick Howard: And I'm Rick Howard.

Dave Bittner: Thanks for listening.

[ Music ]