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“24: Live Another Day” Tech Challenge

“24: Live Another Day” Tech Challenge 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

By Christine Halsey, BSEET, MSET | Professor - College of Engineering & Information Sciences, DeVry University

The only man who can stop the drone madness in London is Jack Bauer – but the CIA just isn’t seeing it that way. In the last two weeks, we’ve learned more about this season’s plot and as it continues to unfold, we’ve seen some realistic and some made-for-TV tech.

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Jack cannot do this all himself – but his right-hand woman, Chloe, is using some pretty high-tech tools that might not be so plausible in their on-the-street, stop-the-bad-guy situations. Let’s start at the beginning to break down the latest technology in Live Another Day:

• Chloe is hacking into street cameras to track the mystery woman.  While this is feasible and in fact, it’s pretty common in TV, tracking her after she removes her wig would require high-end facial recognition.

• Putting aside the fact that the Volvo Jack and Chloe commandeered has traversed the better part of London in 30 seconds, they would have absolutely needed avoidance collision when a car almost hit them. On the flip side of the reality spectrum, the Smartphone navigation is a real app we all can use daily.

• Jack and Chloe lose a lead but quickly get to another by breaking into the American embassy to find an American drone pilot.

• Meanwhile, the woman behind all the madness, Catelyn Stark, is activating the drone software – with labelled satellite imagery – for London’s destruction.  Seems a bit made for TV but again, could be a scary reality.    

• The INTERPOL database was not active. Facial recognition captures a face and searches its database to identify the criminal.  Chloe should or could have been running it actively while looking for the woman without her wig but later she had complete access.  Important to note – the embassy would have been able to ID Jack with this database immediately.

• The terrorist installing the drone-hacking device supposedly had the wrong standard hardware and he said it would take an hour to adjust for their systems.  This is a stretch to say the least.


2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Jack continues to throw himself into danger all in an effort to stop the drone attacks – that only he and Chloe know about. This hour worked to stall Jack’s efforts as the USB stick was an enemy his sharp combat skills could not tackle.  Here’s a tech rundown:

• Chloe easily hacked into the Embassy security cameras to guide Jack to his target – and then the Embassy communications room for USB uploading. As a tech professor, I do not think this would so easily done but Chloe seems to have magic hacking powers.

• The security card Jack took and used to access a variety of rooms is a bit off from today’s technology as current ones track employee at work

• An over-ride device was created to link the drone hacking device to the terrorist system; this would be a cable that would translate pins from one circuit to the other.

• For Jack to share the content of the USB, Chloe told him to open a T-NET window. I was surprised to hear this as it’s something you would need to know more about and Jack knew right away that it meant a secure IP address

• I am not so sure about an easily-accessed program that can decrypt anything. However, hackers are full of tricks and as such Chloe and her team were able to start decrypting and downloading – albeit slowly – the data from flight key.  I won’t ask why the suspected criminal drone pilot was in such proximity to the USB flight key, but that’s not a technology question.

• It was more than surprising that despite the access keys and steel doors to the communications room, CIA Kate Morgan Agent was able to simply crawl through the vent to finally get to Jack.

Meanwhile, Catelyn now has control of the drones.  We’re staying tuned for more – and what will come of the USB stick. Tick, tick…

Interested in our take on other episodes? Click below.
11:00 - 1:00
3:00 - 7:00
7:00 - 11:00

Christine Halsey has BSEET and MSET degrees and currently teaches for the College of Engineering & Information Sciences at DeVry University, specializing in C++, LabView, digital systems, PLCs, RF communications, microprocessors and other electronics courses. She loves technology and helping people make hardware and software work together.


DeVry University is not affiliated in any way with Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation or the show “24: Live Another Day.