Fri. Feb 3rd, 2023

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbylhkLwGo

Season 2 trailer for Mr Robot.

“You can’t turn on the TV or read the newspaper without hearing about a corporate hack,” actor Rami Malek tells the camera; maybe he’s an Ars reader after all. The Mr Robot star appears almost immediately mr. Robot decoded, a one-off documentary airing tonight in the US (11:05 p.m. ET). But unlike the series in general, Malek isn’t the star here. Writers and technical experts on the show’s staff take center stage with TV critics and real-life security professionals. Their goal isn’t to topple virtual financial prisons à la the show’s “fsociety” hacker collective; they just want everyone to know about it Mr Robot‘s topic and to realize how exceptional the show is is in portraying and predicting real-world drama.

decoded does well to include a handful of notable names: Jeff Moss (founder of DefCon), Lance James (chief scientist at Flashpoint), and Peiter “Mudge” Zatko (leader of the L0pht hacker collective who later joined DARPA) all talk about different subjects . However, much of the extremely technical nerding out may have been left to the cutting room floor. These experts instead explain many of the basics for the world depicted in the show: what is hacking? What is a DDoS? Why is it that cracking passwords seems so easy? The special spends an equal amount of time relaying network-news-level details about major events like Apple v. FBI, the Ashley Madison hack, and the Sony data dumps. (It’s a lot of old-fashioned stuff for Ars readers.)

In this sense, decoded works best as a recruiting tool to inform non-tech savvy friends enough to maximize the relevance and technical attention of Mr Robot as opposed to something like CSI Cyber. The documentary apparently also recognizes this target group. It starts with a short (and big, spoiler-free) recap of the first season to introduce the main characters and explain Elliot Alderson’s worldview. Series stars such as Portia Doubleday (Angela), Christian Slater (Mr. Robot) and Malek appear between technical discussions to praise the stories and explain how much they learn through osmosis on set. Series creator Sam Esmail even chuckles in victory after Malek and Carly Chaikin (Darlene) proudly declare that they are now recording their webcams.

If you are already an expert Mr Robot follower, the special still has a few things to offer. Staff writer and technical advisor Kor Adana pops out like a real star. While he reveals many of the real-world inspirations for S1 plot points, have you seen a bit of Stuxnet in the Steel Mountain/Raspberry Pi climate hack? Or what about Anonymous vs. the Church of Scientology in fsociety’s video broadcasts? — he also gives some dazzling glimpses into the show’s process. For example, Adana claims that every hack on the show is at least plausible because he personal to test many of them. And those lines of code that bloggers screen and crawl over? The details are certainly accurate, as Adana spent hours creating a single loading screen, even though it may only appear for a split second. (Fingers crossed, he’s doing a press tour regarding S2.)

Be it a newcomer or a devoted fan, of course decodeds An additional goal is to whet everyone’s appetite Mr Robot S2 (debuts July 13). In this regard, the documentary offers only the fewest previews. A quick edit shows many main characters returning, and cast and crew give some cryptic quotes about what’s to come. “Expect to be a little surprised,” says Esmail. “I’ve gotten to know my stunt twice as well, so maybe that’s saying something,” adds Malek.

After a few final hints about that encryption debate being taped and sound clips of President Obama “saying” fsociety at a press conference, the documentary did succeed. Soon after, I found myself scrolling through Amazon Prime debating whether I should start another season one binge while there’s time.

mr. Robot Decoded airs tonight and will be available tomorrow on VOD and USAnetwork.com.

List image by USA Networks

By akfire1

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