WarGames returns to theaters for 25th anniversary

In 1983, personal computers were in an exciting infancy. The Apple II, Commodore 64, TRS-80, and more made for a diverse digital landscape in which to explore, create — and hack. We didn't know what "security" meant other than simple passwords, and the necessity of direct connections in that pre-Internet era exposed many vulnerable machines.

A quarter-century later, networking and security have evolved barely beyond recognition of those early days. But this Thursday, July 24th, you can journey back to a simpler time with the 25th anniversary of a seminal geek classic:

WarGames 25th anniversary event

According to the Web site for the one-night only WarGames 25th anniversary event (which also gives a film synopsis — for all three of you who haven't seen WarGames yet), "The event will include never-before-seen interviews with cast and crew on how the movie was ahead of its time and its relevance today."

When this film once again threatens us with global thermonuclear war, watch for ways in which IT landscape has changed. Hollywood tooks its liberties, of course — we still haven't developed the degree of artificial intelligence that Joshua displays — but much of the film accurately represents that era. Wardialing is an artifact of the dial-up bulletin board era which has sadly passed, but has security really changed that much? Matthew Broderick had only to consult a Post-It note to find his school's computer password. Twenty-five years later, many casual computer users still don't use strong passwords, as evidenced by one IT consultant I know. He told me that, 50% of the time, he can guess his clients' passwords after talking with them for only a few minutes, as they're usually variations on usernames, family names, pet names, or birthdates. We professionals scoff when Hollywood shows how easy it is to hack computers, but it's a surprisingly regular occurrence.

Even in these worst-case scenarios, the opportunity to so easily hack into a computer that will annhilate all life as we know it is remarkably slim. Except in the case of the WarGames sequel... 



Both WarGames: 25th Anniversary Edition and WarGames 2: The Dead Code release on DVD on July 29th.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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