'Watch Dogs' Brings Hackers to Gaming - But How Real Is It?
Connected cities, with intelligent transit systems and security that capture data about the habits of every citizen, are a strong technology tendency. Just as it can happen with any computational system, however, they can be invaded by hackers and other cyber criminals, that can cause chaos. That is the motto for one of the biggest game launches in 2014: Watch Dogs. Developed by Ubisoft, this game is now reaching the stores for PC, Playstation 3 and 4, as well as Xbox 360 and One.
Located in an alternative version of Chicago, USA, Watch Dogs puts the player in the place of Aiden Pearce, a hacker that uses his skills to interfere in the city's information system, giving him the ability to steal personal data, invade back accounts or even shifting traffic orientation. After loosing his family in a violent tragedy, Pearce puts those skills on the good side, using his smartphone to avoid crimes. According to the director of the game, "he his not an hero, or a anti-hero - he is just a human, with actions moved by revenge. Each player will decide how the character acts".
But how real can this scenario be? One might think that changing traffic lights with a smartphone is something taken from fiction, but this is more real than it may seem. About a month ago, the Argentinian hacker Cesar Cerrudo published an article where he explained that, using a radio frequency device built with less than $100, he would be capable to mess with the transit system of cities like New York or London. Cerrudo says that the lack of security from these systems can easily be exploited, causing several problems: "An intelligent city without strong security ends up becoming a 'dumb' city".
So, even though this is only a game, it will surely raise some questions to our (real) world. NSA is watching us, and Google offers us propaganda, but our security problems can be way more serious than that. The game will put the players in scenarios where they hack and are hacked, giving a whole different perspective of the phenomenon.