The Norton Security Operations Centre looks impressive. On a large digital world map, red dots light up, signalling new security breaches. Dozens of computer screens display the company’s signature black check mark, encased in a yellow circle. The screens are bright under the bluish fluorescent lighting.
“Very quiet please!” A male voice calls out. “Rolling!”
OK, this isn’t a real security centre. It’s a wing of Mohawk College that’s doubling as the set of Cybergeddon, an upcoming movie produced by Anthony E. Zuiker.
Zuiker is creator and executive producer of the three CSI television shows, and he calls the new film CSI meets Armageddon.
“It’s one of the biggest steps this year that we’ve done,” Zuiker said on set. Cybergeddon, directed by Diego Velasco, follows cybercriminal Gustove Dobreff and the FBI team that tries to track him down.
It stars Olivier Martinez, Halle Berry’s fiancé, as Dobreff, and Canadian actress Missy Peregrym as FBI agent Chloe Jocelyn. The cast and crew (minus Martinez) are filming in Hamilton through the weekend.
Don’t expect to see Cybergeddon hit theatres, though. It will première on Yahoo in nine-minute episodes starting in September. One new episode will air every week for 10 weeks, making it sound an awful lot like a web series. “It’s not,” Zuiker clarified. “It’s sort of an online motion-picture event.”
“Event” may be an accurate word for it. Closer to the film’s première, a Cybergeddon app will be released, allowing viewers to play interactive games while learning about computer safety. Zuiker said they’ll be asked questions such as, “Which passwords are the most popular?”
The movie’s Facebook page also offers tips for cybercrime prevention. “It’s about things we probably do every day that we don’t think about,” Zuiker said. “As a storyteller, I find it fascinating. There’s no hotter crime out there today than cybercrime.”
Kevin Haley, director of security response at Norton by Symantec, agrees. “Everybody’s got such personal information on these things,” Haley said, pulling out his smartphone. So when your phone is stolen or your Facebook account hacked, criminals can easily snatch your information, he said. “The bad guys are after us.”
One of Zuiker’s goals may be to educate viewers about how easy it is to be victimized by cybercriminals, but he’s by no means letting entertainment fall to the wayside. This is the guy who produces dramatic CSI episodes, after all. Cybergeddon is a hybrid — edutainment.
And the film is authenticated by those who know computer security best. Haley works as an adviser, ensuring that all the technological manoeuvres and terminology are accurate.
“It’s really nice when they get it right, and rarely do they get it right in the movies,” said Haley. “As a computer security expert, it makes me want to groan when things are wrong.”
He reviewed scripts with the writers to make sure things were authentic but not too complex for the average viewer to understand. “When I say it, it’s like three paragraphs. We figure out how to get it down to five words,” he said.