Video Game Focuses On Data Hacking

Hacking the basis for new Ubisoft video game

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Watch Dogs allows players to hack into city systems.

Recent data breaches occurring at government agencies and social media giants have made the issue a major topic of conversation. 

With the announcement of Ubisoft's Watch Dogs for Play Station 4, the data security issue will now enter the video game world. According to VentureBeat, this game allows players to hack into "smart cities" through camera, monitoring and networking technology, which allows them to control every aspect of a city. 

In a gameplay video for Watch Dogs, Jonathan Morin, creative director at Ubisoft, showed Aiden Pearce, the main character, walking the streets of Chicago and identifying a homeless man, as he was able to use his smartphone to access the city's "central operating system."

"Aiden will be able to tap into the city's omnipresent security cameras, download personal information to locate a target, control systems such as traffic lights or public transportation to stop a chase, and more," said the video game maker. "The city of Chicago is now the ultimate weapon."

In another instance, Aiden was able to track down a criminal who robbed a woman by hacking the city's monitoring technology. After the situation is handled, a sign appears on the screen saying, "Criminal neutralized."

Data security brought to the forefront
With the creation of Watch Dogs and the numerous attacks that have occurred in the past couple months, it is clear data security needs to be discussed more. Jeffrey Chester, president of the Center for Digital Democracy, told the Washington Post that the use of massive data collecting systems by companies should lead to bigger conversations about security

"It's an increasingly out of control system that tracks and collects and targets us," he said. "I take it as a wake-up call that there needs to be a national debate or global debate about what the rules and limits are here."

Two of the most high profile attacks this year have been on Twitter and the U.S. Department of Energy. The social media giant announced it was breached and data for 250,000 users may have been compromised, including usernames, email addresses and encrypted passwords. 

Meanwhile, the attack on the Department of Energy led to private information of several hundred employees and contractors being accessed, which could put them at risk of identity theft.

Other major companies that have found themselves targets include Apple, Facebook and Pinterest.

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