NCIS Hacking

For context, watch this video:

Content Warning: Spoilers for whatever NCIS episode it was. Swearing.

Basically my reaction.

Alright, let’s talk about “hacking”. What is it? “Hacking” means breaking into a system by exploiting weaknesses in it. It could possibly cause the result shown in the clip, but you’d have to either really fuck up or go out of your way to cause all that visual mayhem.

What’s really happening in that video?




ABBY (20’s) is frantically typing on her computer. MCGEE (30’s) is in the room.


No way!

MCGEE turns his head.


I’m getting hacked!


A port scan?


No, no this is major. They’ve already burned through the NCIS public firewall.


Well I’d [unintelligble] and dump them on the other side of the router.


I’m trying, it’s moving too fast!

MCGEE starts typing on one half of the keyboard.


Oh this is not good. They’re using our connection to the [unintelligble] database. Sever it!


I can’t; it’s a point-attack! He or she is only going after my machine!


It’s not possible! There’s D. O. D. …

GIBBS (60’s) and DINOZZO (30’s) and enters the lab. GIBBS holds a big coffee cup and DINOZZO eats a sandwich.


… Level nine encryptioning. It would take months to get through– (Interrupted by DINOZZO)


Hey! What is that, a video game?


No! Tony, we’re getting hacked!


They can get into Abby’s computer, the entire NCIS network is next.


(To MCGEE) I can’t stop him, do something McGee…


(To ABBY) I’ve never seen code like this!

Computer screen goes black.


Ah! Where’d it go Abby?


I didn’t do anything! I thought you did!




(To ABBY and MCGEE) I did.

GIBBS shows he’s holding a power cord.

This is all intercut with short clips of the screen getting completely fucked over with pop-ups, some with all manners of fast-scrolling text and numbers.

First of all, their UI is bullshit. They’re not using Windows or macOS. It’s some wacky Police OS™ with a Linux kernel hidden deep under dumb cyberspacey graphics because they couldn’t get a license from MicroApple (and besides, who doesn’t love open source software).

Secondly, I don’t see why a hacker would need to go through Abby’s computer, let alone cause all that mayhem. Let’s entertain the thought that the hacker couldn’t just get into NCIS’s network without using another computer as a gateway. Why cause all the chaos with the pop-ups and stuff? I get the initial message saying an intruder’s been detected, but nothing after that. Wouldn’t it be better to sneak your way through the system instead of pulling the fire alarm and alerting everyone to your existence? Hacking into another device, on its own, will definitely not create such effects in said device.

And let’s get to the retarded hammering on the keyboard. What the fuck are they doing? There’s just an endless stream of pop-ups, surely some of them will take keyboard focus. And it’s just typing. Typing into what? A command prompt? They’d really have to know what they’re doing to be able to type precise commands into a terminal while it’s being covered with layers and layers of screaming windows.

Oh, and the ridiculous dual typing. What the Hell. Two people just mashing buttons. That’s not how typing works; you can’t get anything meaningful done when the second half of the keyboard is controlled by a separate entity and the communication is restricted to cheesy one-liners and contentless technobabble.

And then Gibbs, the hero of the fucking day, pulls the plug and gives the viewer a nod (“Kids complicating things am I right?”). Honestly, it’s the right decision. If a hacker is using your device to attack other systems it’s connected to, shut your device off as fast as possible; can’t use a device that’s powered on. The right thing to do is to hit the kill switch immediately.

Lastly, McGee hasn’t seen code like that because the code is BS. What the fuck is it? Code the hacker is running? I’m doubtful about that. And is that a terminal? Green text on black background (stereotypical) but the font isn’t fixed-width? My mind is blow.

In short, the entire clip is bullshit.

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