Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I've agreed to be the technical advisor for a movie currently in production called The Negotiator / Mashita Masayoshi. It's the third movie in a series which started as a TV series and was followed with two movies called Odoru Dai Sousasen or Bayside Shakedown. In the first two movies, Ujiie-san from Infoseek Japan helped out a bit and in exchange they used Infoseek in the movie and had an sticker on the hero's computer. The third movie doesn't have the sames stars as Bayside Shakedown, but has a pretty big role for the computer team.

The series is about the police force based in Tokyo Bay. The characters are quite fun and I've always enjoyed the series. I am excited to be working with this excellent team. In the past they've always done little things to get a cult following. Cool stickers, realistic technology, etc.

The story is about a negotiator for the police and a very technically sophisticated bad guy. The movie comes out during Golden Week next year. I don't think they have plans for US release.

My job will be to help them find images, software and ideas to try to make the movie realistic from a computer network and technology perspective. I've just set up a wiki page. Guess why? Because, I need help from all of you. ;-)

Japanese press conference for movie


I liked Bayside Shakedown 2 (haven't seen the first one, tho), so I'll see what I can do re your wiki page.

I'm not sure what it takes to obtain a joiwiki account, so I'll leave my one random thought here.


IMHO, Apple's biggest mistake in the whole "Switcher" campaign was not to actually show OS X in action. We all know its beauty is only surpassed by its usefulness - now you have an opportunity to actually show people.

The only question that remains is: what dock configuration are you going to use? ;)

I don't know what exactly does 'the bad guy' does (bank robbing, kidnapping, serial killer...) but in case he makes a phone call, he could use Skype.

I'm just figuring out things but... Would the police be able to trace back a SkypeOut phone call through an anonymous proxy?

wow, that is really cool. I'v seen both movies and the tv series, and they are pretty entertaining.

What sort of software do you need recommendations for? security related? general desktop software?

One thing I would recommend is not to user MS software, or at least as little as possible (yes I'm a big linux geek :)). I say this because most people are familiar with MS and wouldn't find it too interesting. But if the characters do any browsing of the web, please have them use firefox or at least a non-IE browsing. ;)

You might want to take a look at the 2nd Matrix movie. In it Trinity uses nmap (arguably the best port scanning tool out there), to scan for services on a remote machine. She finds a machine running ssh1 and then uses a known ssh1 vulnerability to exploit the machine. However, if the villain is going to be rather technically inclined he shouldn't be using services known to be rather weak.

And yes, Mac OS X should be used too. It's such a freaking beautiful interface.

If this is a pretty big movie, it's easy to pick platforms, isn't it? You have a mix of platforms and to start with, you put the really dispicable characters using Windows; you put the really likeable guys using Macs. Then you go around Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Toshiba and Palm, explain the situation to them and ask them what they can do for you. At the end of the day, choosing a platform is always about getting the best deal for your client. You can't get religious about it.

The more interesting part is around building a plotline which explains some technological point about computer security, but puts it in an understandable and dramatic context. This is the part to concentrate on.

You could probably use the MD5 vulnerbility to some effect (security breach?) anyway, sounds like fun, good luck!

heh you might even put in a plug for podcasting, though whether it may mean anything a year from now is anybody's guess.

Stunner that they wanna do this right visually. Full disclosure time tho, are you getting paid for this either with money or screen credit?


iSight. A character could say "wow, is that some futuristic government software?"

and the response could be ... "get with it man! this is out of the box"

Chris: Screen credit and hopefully placement for some of the companies I work for/with.

The technology is supposed to be about 5 years from now...

I'd love to get OSX on, but Apple pretty stingy about machines in Japan according to the staff.

Apple's far from stingy about mac placements in Hollywood movies, so I wonder what makes them stingy about Japanese movies.

Joi, I help a lot of friends who are screenwriters all the way through production on these sorts of things, so let me know what you need. MW

Thanks folks. Chris, I was wrong. They might end up paying me if it takes a lot of my time.

Hey Michael. That would be great if you can help me.

So my first task is creating profiles for six hackers in the police force. They were recruited and they are Japanese. I want to "afiliate" each one with a hacker club and get a sticker for the hacker club on the PC of each of the actors. Which hacker clubs should I use and do you think they will help me create these profiles? IE what software would they be using, what stickers would be on their PCs... etc.

If the baddies are supposed to penetrate some computer via the Internet, they should obviously be using some unsecured wireless access point found via wardriving.
They should also have developed a computer virus that installs backdoors on hundreds of broadband-connected Windows-running PCs, to use them as non-logging traffic relays/proxies. The IP traffic would travel from an unsecured WiFi AP to a relay daemon running on a hijacked PC, and thus be very difficult to trace.
They should be using a long-distance directional WiFi antenna, to be several Kms away from the access point they're using.

Voice conversations could be carried over a Skype client with a personal firewall setup such that its incoming and outgoing UDP traffic — save for DNS — is blocked, and outgoing TCP connections restricted to HTTP and SSL. Skype will then try to contact a random proxy host to relay the Skype traffic between the Skype endpoints, making the conversation difficult to trace unless one manages to penetrate the unsuspecting intermediary client PC running the Skype relay gateway.

Large amounts of information can be sent by the baddies to the good guys using recorded DVDs or CDs, using basically untraceable physical postal delivery — i.e. envelopes handled with gloves, with the stamps dampened with generic mineral water and dropped in some random mailbox in some random city.

Signalling the acceptation of transaction terms by the good guys should be done in the classic fashion, i.e. by publishing an innocuous ad in a newspaper — impossible to trace who actually receives the information, thus.

Transferring money to the baddies could be done e.g. by forcing the Bank of Japan to buy or sell a huge quantity of gold, thus influencing the gold fixing price and letting the baddies who've got a long or short gold futures position, along with honest traders, to profit handsomely.

Alternatively, a money transfer chain that uses anonymous Lithuanian certificates of deposit, Croatian deposit books and Austrian Sparbuchs could be set up. Or a SWIFT transfer going through some shady Russian bank involved in financing oil export deals...

just make sure you tell 'em that typing on the keyboard shouldn't normally produce any sounds at all -)

And add some Van Eck phreaking.

The screenwriters should attend Black Hat Japan next week.
then they will know what's what.

Joi, from what I understand movie companies here are pretty notoriously ketchi so dont expect much money. Better to ask for screen credit. Cops affiliated with hacker clubs? Stickers? Software? All sounds odd to me but the one thing I can offer is that you should keep in mind that most of this stuff will get very littel screen time/space and so whatever you suggest should be clearly visible even when viewed on a small screen. That will be most usefull to the director(s) especially since most of the viewers of this movie will end up being from video rental rather than big screen.

Chris. I'm not expecting much in terms of cash. My Infoseek team has worked with these guys for the last two movies and they definitely helped promote Infoseek on the movie. They're a cult following around Infoseek/Odoru now. It's so strong that the director is having us dig up the old sticker to put on the hero's laptop again. In the first movie the sticker filled half the screen for minutes since there were a bunch of shots with the top of the laptop filling half the screen. The director loves laptop stickers and you can see them in all of the movies. It's cool that they think these stickers are cool. On the other hand, I think it's because they thought Infoseek was cool. I don't think they'd put a sticker of "Joi Ito's Web" on one of the laptops.

But I'm not going to be all that concerned about getting "placement". It's really a lot of fun brainstorming with the team. They're bright and extremely fun.

Congratulations! just saw the laptop sticker on your blog and it's way cool....

the baddies can use their own visual street code to identify weak/ unsecure corporate wi-fi spots for hacking - such as war-chalking...