No Ben Affleck in Anti-Virus

Ben Affleck produces outstanding heist movies: Gone Baby Gone, The Town, Argo (well, it’s a type of a heist…). We’re unlikely to ever see an online heist movie out of Affleck though. The same three factors that make Internet security so difficult are what make it so unexciting.


1st Unexciting Factor: Action at a distance

In the old days, Bonnie and Clyde had to actually enter the premises of the bank they were about to rob, how terrifyingly exciting!

Now, some nerd sits on the other side of the planet punching keys, it lacks drama and immediacy.

2nd Unexciting Factor: The thieves are common

If you are capable of pulling off a big offline heist, you probably have nerves of steel, con-man skills, extreme knowledge of what you’re doing, and the ability to pull it off – like Ben Affleck in The Town!

In the online world, the code to circumvent security systems can be incredibly complex and the designers at the top of the skill and intelligence pyramid. However, once that code is created, just like any software application, it can be copied and re-used by anyone, skilled or otherwise. Which is exactly what happens in the virus world. There are a small number of brilliant viruses, and hundreds of thousands of copy cats.

3rd Unexciting Factor: The stakes are small

No offline bank robber would draw up a plan that required stealing a nickel a day from 1M people spread out all over the world, right? It’s a ludicrous notion.

This is exactly the kind of scheme that virus runners prefer, so the nature of the theft is fundamentally different because computers on the Internet let viruses automate and distribute the work over time and place in a way that’s impossible in the offline world.

So that’s it!

Taken together, these three fundamental factors make Internet security difficult to achieve, and dull to film…

1. The thieves don’t have to physically be at the place of the crime.

2. One smart guy figures out the theft, which enables a legion of copy cats who don’t need the same level of skill.

3. Very small thefts can be automated and distributed in a way that add up to huge financial wins.

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