Seven hacker documentaries you can’t miss

code hacking

The Summer grinds toward its unofficial Labor Day end. The days are still long and hot. The humidity is thick. It’s a time of the year when I like to tuck myself indoors and catch up on movies I’ve missed and old favorites. One of my preferred subjects is hacking.

And to get a sense of hacker culture and how it has come to be what it is today, I’ve assembled the following list of excellent (at least I think so) films that capture everything from old school hacking culture (that still lives on today) to cybercrime and cyberespionage.

Here they are:

The Secret History of Hacking (2001)
This movie looks at the lives of three famous hackers, John Draper (Captain Crunch), Kevin Mitnick and Steve Wozniak. The documentary is an interesting dive into phone phreaking, hacking, and social engineering during the 1990s and going back to the 1970s.

Freedom Downtime (2001)
This film is an interesting (supportive) look into the times of hacker Kevin Mitnick, the hacker community more broadly, and the Free Kevin movement. A fun and informative movie if you aren’t familiar with this time period in hacker history.

Code 2600 (2011)
This film takes a (rather grim) look at the increasing role the Internet and social media are having on our lives, especially when it comes to privacy and cybersecurity, and what the information age has meant to society.

Citizenfour (2014)
While not a hacking movie or a film on hacking culture, it is a worthwhile watch for anyone interested in an understanding of Edward Snowden (Citizenfour). Filmed by Laura Poitras, the documentary chronicles Snowden’s view on his disclosure of thousands of classified NSA documents, as told through his interviews with reporter Glenn Greenwald.

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story Of Aaron Swartz (2014)
This movie looks at the tragic story of computer expert and online activist Aaron Swartz. While Swartz co-founded Reddit, created RSS, and has often been lauded as a computer genius, it was his views on information access that caught the attention of law enforcement. According to authorities, Swartz allegedly downloaded a large amount of academic journal articles in 2010 and 2011. He was charged with a number of felonies for unauthorized access to MIT computer systems and committed suicide while in the throws of what many described as an overzealous federal prosecution.

Def Con: The documentary (2013)
Def Con is the annual hacking conference held in Las Vegas. This documentary tracks the conference for four days in 2014. It’s a rare visual look at Def Con because the organizers have a strict no-camera policy. But for this film, an exception was made, and the resulting peek into the Def Con experience, its staff and attendees proved worth it.

Zero Days (2016)
This movie paints a sobering portrait of just how vulnerable the physical world is to cyber-attacks. Named after security flaws that are publicly known before they are known to the software maker (or before a patch has been released) Zero Days details just how precarious the highly-networked and increasingly software-driven world is today.


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  1. Such an awesome article George! I haven’t watched any of these but I am looking forward to finding and watching these.


  1. […] 7 documentaires sur le hack que vous ne pouvez pas manquer (en) […]

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