Trinity hacks into the power grid

Trinity hacks into the power gridGeeks enter the Matrix. Hollywood gets hacking right in The Matrix: Reloaded, warming the hearts of the “skilz” squad in its spot-on outline of how to gain root.

Real-life hacking is about as exciting to watch as paint drying, which could explain why Hollywood usually ignores the technical details in high-tech thrillers.

Not so in “The Matrix: Reloaded.” Web sites devoted to the craft of exploring computer systems for security vulnerabilities are buzzing about the power grid hack, which occurs just before the hit film's climax.

We won't give that part away. But we will note the joy that warmed the hearts of geeks everywhere when Trinity, played by actor Carrie-Ann Moss, grabbed the keyboard and the green glow of a Unix command line filled the screen.

Screen shots of the hacking sequence posted online clearly show off Trinity's ” skilz?: She scans for vulnerable SSH servers using the free Nmap utility, finds an open port 22 and gains root with an old exploit known as SSH1 CRC32. (Root is defined in the hacker dictionary as “the main user on a Unix network who can do anything he wants like change users password, delete data, use every command and so on.”)

Nmap's author, who goes by the handle Fyodor, first noticed the sequence during the opening public screening on May 14.

“All was going well, until Trinity needed to do some hacking,” Fyodor wrote to CNET in an e-mail interview. “This always ruins movies for me, as they almost always pass off ridiculous 3D animated eye-candy scenes as hacking. But then Trinity pulled out my Nmap program and did it right! I was so shocked that I almost did the 'r00t dance' right there in the theater!”  [Marc's Voice]

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