Harry Potter and the Deathly Hackers

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Aside from the Snowdens and Assanges of the world, hacking can be used for darker purposes. Cyberwar is defined by various characteristics, including surveillance, subversion, impersonation and sock puppets (source).


Let’s imagine the notion of cyberwar outside of the internet space. I’ll give you a good guy and a bad guy, Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort. We’ll need a bunch of nodes as well, let’s call them wizards. They are fighting the worst Wizarding War of their time.

Lord Voldemort first used his prowess in legilimency in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to effectively hack into Harry’s mind. Legilimency is defined as illegitimately breaking into another person’s mind. Voldemort attempted, and succeeded on occasions, in reading and manipulating Harry’s mind. Occlumency is its counter curse; it is the defence of the mind against a legilimens or a virus. Snape teaches Harry the art of occlumency, and thus we have a battle occurring between the hacker (Voldemort) and the defender (Harry).

If we picture the human brain, a complex web of connections between specialised cells, as an operating system, a parallel between hacking and legilimency appears. We can let the internet equal the wizarding world, whereby each individual wizard is a node. Voldemort’s underlying motive, at least initially, is that of subversion, the practice of undermining an authority. The Dark Lord attempts to get into Harry’s head in order to put Albus Dumbledore, the leader of the Order of the Phoenix (a secret society against the plight against Voldemort) under surveillance, among other reasons.

A sock puppet is a fabricated internet persona, generally used by the government or military in order to sway the opinions or actions of the general public. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Voldemort creates a sock puppet, a faux version of Harry’s Godfather, Sirius Black, to lure Harry, and by effect the members of the Order of the Phoenix, into the Department of Mysteries. He uses legilimency to push a false impersonation of Sirius’s torture into Harry’s mind, not unlike a computer virus. This is yet another example of subversion; Voldemort undermines the Ministry of Magic by effectively marking the beginning of the second Wizarding War on its premises. This ultimately resulted in Black’s murder.

Through the application of cyberwar to the Harry Potter universe, it can be concluded that cyberwarfare is a strong threat to society and it is used by both the good side and the dark side. A small act of hacking, or breaking into one’s mind, has incredible consequences in the physical world, for example Sirius Black’s death and the beginning of a violent war that would last for years. As technology continues to advance and more and more people connect online, the potential of cyberwar to destroy will only increase (ibid).



-Claire xD


15 thoughts on “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hackers

    1. Thanks Taylor 🙂 Awesome source, the idea of sock puppets fascinates me because it seems so unethical; maybe in some clauses it crosses legal boundaries. Despite this it is used by governments and the military – who’d have thought it? Scary stuff.


  1. Such a creative and interesting way of approaching the topic! The Harry Potter context definitely made it easier to understand. Cyberwarfare is on the rise and is hard to fathom as it differs from physical wars. Cyberwarfare enters a new era of how we interact around globe when it not always for the good. Here’s a further resource in cyberwar that would interest you http://fortune.com/2016/10/09/the-fog-of-cyber-war/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment and the source! I agree, if there ever is a third world war, I wonder if it will be fought with soldiers and guns, or anonymous hackers? Maybe even a combination of both.
      Claire 🙂


  2. I don’t know anything about Harry Potter, so I feel like I’m learning about that too now.
    I think there’s way more to be said about cyberwar. It actually crosses into your post about the IoT and the surrounding themes a fair bit. Just like you suggested that hackers could now manipulate the physical appliances in your house, a cyberwar would mean that vital networked infrastructure would be targeted by state actors to cripple resource response or communications, disrupting the real world in incredibly damaging ways.

    It’s like if Gandalf could use The Force to launch ICBMs on the Starship Enterprise before Hagrid even knows what’s up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved all the Harry Potter metaphors, you are truly a master of the arts. Kind of lost me in them for a bit, however a more imaginative approach to the topic than most with clearly explained concept jargon and some solid links to further readings.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Claire, this blog post is amazing -as a Harry Potter fan myself, I truly appreciate how you were able to incorporate the vast majority of Week 11’s learning fundamentals into certain story plots of the Harry Potter movies.

    Indeed, in this case, Lord Voldemort is the hacker – as Harry’s mind was “hacked”. Lord Voldemort’s intentions in doing so were obviously meant for harm, but luckily, there would be the counter curse of which enables Harry to protect himself from malicious malware.

    Again, I have to applaud you for typing up such a great read – I look forward to reading more of your other posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To be honest, while I do like the ‘hacking’ parallel, I would be more inclined to say what Voldemort really did: he socially engineered Harry. I would honestly say that what a -lot- of people don’t realize is that 90% of ‘computer hacking’ is really just socially engineering people. This is what PoodleCorp did to ‘hack’ into Youtube channels a few months back. They just called up the phone company and convinced them to send them a copy of the victim’s SIM card. It’s really the same thing with Snowden and Assange. You imply that they are both hackers but really neither one are. Snowden just made copies of files he already had access too and Assange publishes documents that other people send to their team.

      IDK. Maybe I just live the cybersecurity life too hardcore lol. If you are actually interested in this, maybe check out this video? It’s not the greatest but it’s better than the 40 minute ABC video you linked lol.

      “DEF CON 22 – Zoz – Don’t Fuck It Up!” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1q4Ir2J8P8


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