“There are hundreds of millions of business printers in the world. Less than 2% of them are secure.” So begins Hewlett-Packard’s new advertisement featuring Christian Slater, aka Edward Alderson, aka Mr Robot.
In a wonderfully apt sign of the times, the six-minute advertorial from Hewlett-Packard Studios is more like a highly polished short techno-thriller which preys on people’s fears. In it, Christian plays a jovial yet shadowy character called “The Wolf” who, floor-by-floor makes his way up the 70th storey of the fictional Pierce, Arthur & Monroe Financial company’s skyscraper, all the while hacking into sheeple’s unsecured tech. Here it is:
Using Christian Slater’s fame as Mr Robot to sell cybersecurity is kinda like hiring Anthony Hopkins to sell fava beans and a nice Chianti.
The dark, ominous music couldn’t be more like Mr Robot if it tried but the most obvious way that “The Wolf” borrows from our fave show is the very Brechtian (fourth wall-breaking) way in which Christian Slater skulks around, ghostlike – talking to the camera while unseen by everybody else but us…
The simplicity of the hacks, together with the gullibility of the victims is also reminiscent, but that’s fair game as that’s how every film/show/advert portrays hacking – also it’s totes true that it is that easy.
That said, they
borrow share one idea straight out of Mr Robot when birthday girl Janice’s computer is Pwnd by a gift certificate containing malware.
Poor, lovely, innocent Janice is conned even more easily than the cop who picked up Darlene and Elliot’s dirty USB flash drive with the promise of music gift cards.
Ultimately, Darlene’s part of the plan to bust Fernando Vera out of jail plan failed because her pre-coded “script-kiddie” malware (downloaded from the web, instead of written herself) was detected by the NYPD’s Avast anti-virus software.
Incidentally, the name “The Wolf” mirrors Harvey Keitel’s character name in Pulp Fiction which, of course, featured in Mr Robot.
In conclusion, the biggest difference between director Lance Acord’s infomercial and Sam Esmail’s TV show is that Mr Robot would quickly jump in and ask the question “Who made all those printers, 98% of which are unsecured?”
Oh, it was Hewlett-Packard.
I’m sure their intentions to “reinvent security” are well-meant but what’s that phrase about throwing a brick through someone’s window then knocking on the door and selling them a burglar alarm?
Should’ve gone to Cisco!