Hackers

This is a game for android with a rather interesting name. The expectations were high when I downloaded it, even though I didn’t know what type of game it was. The graphics were a real treat, complex, computer-like and fancy, but would my initial enthusiasm last?

hackers01

This is my network. The purple sphere is the core. Linked to its network is a program library, a bitcoin mine, a compiler, a server farm, some sentries, a database, an evolver (algorithms that upgrade programs automatically), a bitcoin mixer and an internet connection. You build these gradually, starting with just the core and  slowly making upgrades.

hackers04

hackers05

The game is about hacking, but not about intelligent, ethical hacking. It’s not even about grey hat hacking. The game’s objective is to break into other people’s computers and networks and steal money. Here is what a network looks like after I have “pwned it”…

hackers02

Even though the interface is intriguing and it does require some kind of minimal creativity to develop your own network and secure it, you also have to write malicious programs (with just a click, you don’t type code lol). You are expected to farm bitcoins, antagonize with other black hat hackers and keep breaking into other people’s computers.

hackers03

As I kept playing it, I was suddenly overwhelmed with a feeling of disgust. If you spend a lot of time reading Infosec news you inevitably identify yourself with the good guys. You do realize the gravity of online crime and how important it is to treat cyber security with respect.

But in this game, I had to be the bad guy. Did I expect my infosec enthusiasm to interfere with my gaming? I didn’t, after all this is just a game in a fake virtual world! But I could not see it as entertainment. I  could find nothing entertaining about pretending to be a cyber criminal!

How would I rate this game? Apart from the fact that its an upgrades game, without any story-line, I would say that it’s not my cup of tea. The narrative of looting other people’s computers is boring at its best, repulsive at its worst. Not recommended.