Movie Review: Zero Days - İrem Ayça Aykın


It is already past Halloween, but there is no real right time to tell a horror story. What you are about to read is going to haunt you down into an endless paranoia. I might have sounded like the beginning of an Edgar Allan Poe story, which is precisely what I intended to do. Nonetheless, there is a difference between Poe’s stories and what I am about to tell. Poe was a gothic fantasy writer; hence, his stories were fictional. The story I am about to say is, here comes the scary part, real to the core.


Alex Gibney’s cyber-war documentary “Zero Days”, captures the essence of the new era of war. As the 21st Century citizens, we are already aware of the dangers and terrors of technology. Still, we never actually come to realize the potential of it as a weapon as destructive as a nuclear power. The documentary investigates this potential through the case of “Stuxnet”. Stuxnet, as known as the Olympic Games (OG), is a cyber-virus developed by the U.S. and Israel to destroy the heart of the Iranian nuclear facility.


The difference between Stuxnet was the containment of several Zero days. I am not intended to give any spoilers so you can experience the same terror as it should be. Gibney’s interviews reveal the chilling answers to critical questions. Can a malware infiltrate to a far-off land and destroy their projects? Can it cause damage to an economy of that state? And more importantly, can something that only exists in the cyber realm cause physical damage up to casualties? At the end of the documentary, we can answer these questions with a big fat, yes.


The cyber-world is the new warfare, and everyone prefers it. The experts are analyzing Cybercrimes in three categories. First, traditional cybercriminals who are aiming to money laundering; Hacktivists who are in it or fun or trying to give a political message; the Nation-States who are striving to obtain high-level intelligence or to attack. The first two categories are dangerous, but the third category has the objective to destroy. The world history has witnessed different forms of Nation-State terror, and it is reborn in a different one, as we observe in the documentary.


The cyber attacks are getting more likely to experience, and the improvement of cyber forces are increasing at a fast pace. There are no rules to this game. Except the only state is that do what you can get away with. And if the attackers get caught, the injured party can act the same way.


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