What Can Hollywood Teach Us About Computer Viruses?


Children today watch, on average, about six hours of television today. I personally find that a little bit hard to believe during school hours, since they spend at least five hours a day at school, but let’s agree that they watch a lot of TV at the very least. I am a parent myself and I have always said I would limit the amount of TV my child could watch. But even my child, who is obviously not part of the statistics, comes up with pearls of wisdom that he has learned on TV. Let’s face it, Hollywood affects our lives. But is this such a bad thing, or is there actually something to learn from Hollywood? What can we learn about the importance of having virus protection software in place to protect ourselves?

Pulse with Kristin Bell

Take the movie Pulse, for instance. Here, a hacker called Josh manages to gain access to Douglas Ziegler’s computer. It just so happens, however, that Ziegler is in the process of developing a very strong wireless signal. By hacking into his computer, Josh unleashes a virus that takes the will to live away from people in contact with it. As a result, a suicide epidemic takes place and the strength of the virus increases. Mattie, Josh’ psychologist girlfriend, sees all of her friends kill themselves and sees the modern world being destroyed. She makes a new acquaintance, Dexter, and together they try to develop some sort of antivirus that can be let loose into the network and save all of mankind. Lesson learnt? Make sure you have a good antivirus protection program in place before you start hacking into someone else’s computer!

The Net with Sandra Bullock

In The Net, Angela Bennett is a true computer geek. She works from home for Cathedral Software as a contract employee. Her job is to be a software analyst. Her life is reclusive and the only people she knows are her online friends, who don’t really know who she is or even what she looks like. Her mother has Alzheimer’s and is also no longer able to recognise her own daughter due to this illness. Cathedral Software is a computer giant and they look to get even bigger by developing and releasing the Gatekeeper security program. Angela is testing a new game and finds what looks like a virus. In the meantime, however, she does what is previously unthinkable for her and goes on a holiday to Mexico. In Mexico, she meets Jack Devlin, with whom she becomes romantically involved. Jack, however, tries to kill her and all she can understand is that it has something to do with her work. Angela escapes but starts to encounter more and more difficulties from the Praetorians, the group to which Jack seems to be tied. It seems that they have stolen her identity and given her a brand new identity in its place. Angela struggles to find anybody who can vouch for her identity. People in authority do not believe her. They say it is impossible that her identity was stolen since it was protected by the Gatekeeper program. Through the virtual world, she tries to escape Jack and rediscover her own identity. She also tries to figure out exactly who Jack is and why he is trying to kill her. Lesson learnt here? Make sure you use antivirus software that you know and trust 100%.

So what can Hollywood teach us about McAfee total protection? The two movies above are two of many that all teach us the importance of having excellent virus protection in place before we start venturing on the net.

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