FTF Boo Rating
Remember, 5 boos means you think it's the worst film you've ever seen.
Untraceable. This is a tough review for me to write. On the one hand, I do understand that’s it meant to be a film that entertains. Unfortunately, that does not excuse the weak plot and the HUGE number of technical inaccuracies. Before I continue, I should explain that this review was written by someone who works in the IT industry, and has a very strong grasp of both DNS and routing. With that in mind, let’s begin…
Let’s get the boring shit out of the way first… The films pivots around an FBI cyber crimes agent called Jennifer Marsh. She and some other dude are responsible for stopping the bad dudes that inhabit the internet. She’s got a mother and a daugther, who are both pretty annoying. Before we even hit the main premise of the film, let’s discuss one of the early scenes.
A website called Tunethief.com is allowing users to download free pirated music, but WAIT – when they try and use his website/application, he steals their financial data. What a bastard eh? Jennifer sends a backdoor trojan to this evil dude, so that she can see what he’s doing on his screen. Really? That’s SO clever Jennifer. I’m sure that he’s using the same computer (or VM) for everything he’s doing and that he’s probably not got any kind of firewall in place. Yeah, that’s probably the case. They trace the IP address, and use that to get the postal address of the perp. Genius. They find out that it’s an old lady who is doing the bad deeds, but Jennifer doesn’t believe that for a second. No, it must be someone close by. Someone who could access her wireless router.
I can’t continue. This is already too much. So far the FBI have traced the IP address of the criminal, which isn’t going through any kind of proxy server network, to a physical location. They have then concluded that the person who lives at that location (and uses that IP address) is an old lady and couldn’t possibly be a bad girl. Quick as a flash, they’ve confirmed that she’s got a wireless router AND that our real bad guy must be within wireless range. Yeah, I mean that is the ONLY explanation. It’s not like her computer could’ve been compromised and might now be acting as a proxy for this guy. Nope, it’s 100% a wireless issue. They then conclude that a bad dude that lives nearby is accessing her wireless and being a very bad boy. Straight away, they wrap this REALLY THOROUGH investigation and decide to have the dude arrested. No. I’m sorry. Even though she is “right”, she’s just got fucking lucky. God this pisses me off. The problem I have with all of this is that it happens too quickly. She doesn’t bother to check any other possibilities, or even to confirm her findings. It’s literally all done in 2 minutes flat. Fuck that shit.
At this point, I knew this film would be shit. I even knew that it wasn’t going to be slightly amusing shit, it was just going to be terrible. Still, I needed to know just how shit is could get. Once the premise became clear, I knew that my rage was going to be swift and brutal.
A website exists called www.killwithme.com. Each time someone goes to this website and hits “enter”, they find themselves watching a streaming video. The video is either of a cat or a human (cat at the start, human after that), and they are being held captive in some way.
Everytime someone visits this website, the cat or human is pushed slightly closer to death. So if the captive is being poisoned, every person that visits the page makes a tiny bit more poison come out. This means that the more viewers the page receives, the quicker the victim dies. ZOMG, what a twist! So basically, some bad dude is killing people via a website. Fuck me, awesome plot eh?
The FBI discuss how to stop this bad dude. They can’t shut his website down because of the following…
1) The site’s IP address keeps changing.
2) Each IP address is an exploited server, running a mirror of the site.
3) The domain’s nameserver is Russian, which uses a low TTL to ensure that clients get the new IP address fast.
4) As the domain’s nameserver and registrar are both in Russia, the FBI can’t do anything.
The Next Part
I stopped watching at this point. Apparently, the bad dude ends up capturing our Jen – but she eventually gets the better of him in an AWESOME finale.
So why did I stop watching? Let’s examine the four points above…
1) IP changing & 2) Exploited servers, running mirrors.
Really? That’s impressive. So the bad dude has a load of machines that are running mirrors of the website for him. Although, he’s streaming live video/chat – so technically they’re only running partial mirrors. The whole point of a mirror is that if the main site goes down, everything would still be available. Well in this case it wouldn’t be – as they would no longer have access to the video/chat from the main server. This also means that it cannot be totally impossible to trace this dude. If I’m accessing video from a website, that is not static information. Therefore, I am moving data from the relevant webserver all the time. Even if I was being bounced through proxies (which is basically what these compromised computers are), I am still receiving data from the main server. At this point, I would probably find a compromised computer (or make my own) and find out where it is connecting to. One of those locations is going to be the root server that is streaming the video.