Saturday, May 03, 2008

Untraceable (Thriller 2008)

This was a fun little movie filled with dumb as shit characters and an incompetent FBI team. Diane Lane played the character of an FBI agent whose job is to combat cyber-crime. Things get interesting when some dude puts up a website of people getting killed with the number of viewers as the source of the cause of death.

First off, I’m not a security expert, so I dunno what was or was not necessarily possible in this film. What I do know is that if you had a streaming server with a live feed, and then you had some sort of botnet masking the source IP through a bunch of compromised servers, you would still be able to trace back the source, but you would probably need to get the logs from all the ISPs involved. Yes, this would take a bunch of time considering that ISPs don’t readily enjoy giving out information without a drawn-out court battle, but it is possible. In another scene you see the FBI peeps lock down one IP address and then putting the same URL name into a browser and having it already be redirected to a new server. That was bullshit because the DNS would not have been updated so quickly.

Also, if the FBI already knew the city that the streaming server was located in, they could've had the main ISP for the region help find the user by monitoring packet traffic and doing random shutdowns of specific ranges to see what the source IP was. Like in most towns I’ve lived in, your big boys are Cox, Comcast, or the local phone company with their DSL. There could also be satellite feeds too, but going after the broadband users would be a good start.

There were a bunch of technical methods the police and FBI could have utilized, but instead they all just “tuned in” to the killing, making the active connections go up and watching helplessly as the victims died. The manner in which a few of them croaked were very Saw-esque. Not too shabby at all, even though gruesome.

Diane Lane’s character was hilarious though. She was a grade-A idiot. First she had her home computer, which had confidential FBI information in it, hooked into the same wireless network as her daughter’s play computer. You would think that someone of her station would be smart enough to have her primary home system isolated away, with a VPN or SSH connection to her office. The fact that her daughter installing a Backdoor Trojan had somehow infected her primary system leads me to believe that she is a fool. She had to have no password or a weak password and no firewall. Also, she was running Vista, which is a piece of shit in itself. I’m surprised that her browser even opened up that quickly. The second reason, and I won’t spoil it for anyone, is that she didn’t search her car and then she got back IN the car. If you see it you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Minus the stupidity of the characters, some questionable technical facts, and the very last scene with her badge, it was a pretty enjoyable thriller. Also, if you look closely at all of the stuff people were writing in the “chat room”, those comments were definitely worth a laugh.
Rating - B