IT security pros get well-deserved credit


Many of the action films Ford starred in lately don't compare to the earlier movies of his Hollywood career. That trend likely will continue if the trailers for his forthcoming film, Firewall, are any evidence. But what's interesting about this film is that he plays a computer security specialist.

Apparently, his character, Jack Stanfield, is so good at what he does that his professional standing is based "on designing the most effective anti-theft computer systems in the industry." His latest achievement has been architecting a seemingly flawless computer security infrastructure to protect a bank's "financial holdings from the constant threat of increasingly sophisticated internet hackers," according to the movie's website.

Much like many of his recent movies, in which he must race against some fierce deadline to ensure his wife and children aren't killed by a crazed villain who's holding them hostage for money, the premise of this one isn't exactly convincing me to run right out and buy a ticket. But the mere fact that an actor as well-known as Harrison Ford is playing a computer security specialist seems to support the notion that IT security is going more mainstream.

As is the way in most computer movies, the writers and directors of Firewall are bound to mess up some of the lingo or over-simplify how computer processes are executed, too. Yet the central character, whose job it is to protect customers' private details, is a bit more timely and reality-based compared to other computer movies' protagonists – especially given the plethora of breaches affecting mainstream end-users in the past year.

And let's face it, while the film is bound to be another silly rehash of Ford's other recent save-the-day action movies, it likely will bring some attention to a few of the complications the average IT security practitioner faces.

In the end, Hollywood is all about entertainment with some scant truisms sprinkled in for effect. Reality's where events such as the SC Magazine Awards Gala come in. We'll be holding our black-tie affair – the Oscars of the IT security industry – at the RSA Conference on February 14 to honor real, hard-working computer security specialists and their teams, as well as the vendors and IT security products that support them.

Sadly, though, we just couldn't spare a seat for Harrison Ford.

Illena Armstrong is Editor-in-Chief.

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