Computer Crime Research Center


Real-life cyber crime was eye-opener for "Untraceable" actress Diane Lane

Date: February 07, 2008
By: George Lang

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Diane Lane got a crash course in pixilated evil when she signed up to play an FBI cyber agent in “Untraceable,” and thanks to her time studying the bureau’s online crime investigations, the actress learned more than she ever wanted to know about the darker regions of the Internet.

“I’m so naive that I didn’t know that viruses did not spontaneously occur, like in nature,” Lane said during a press day for “Untraceable.” in Santa Monica, Calif. “No, some brainiac sat down and figured out how to make everybody miserable, like an arsonist. Why? Do you have nothing better to do with your life? I don’t know what to say — I’m so disappointed in human beings, and myself, for not knowing better.”

But, as the central premise to “Untraceable” asserts, Lane is not alone, and Internet crime is constantly evolving. An entire floor of a federal building in Portland, Ore., is filled with FBI agents who spend every day surfing the Web, ferreting out crimes ranging from petty scams to child pornography.

Set partly in that building, “Untraceable” centers on a harrowing series of online murders in which the speed of the killings is determined by the number of visits or “hits” on the Web site. Because Hollywood’s short history of Internet-related movies is filled with cinematic spam — films with unrealistic plots and even more unrealistic computer graphics — director Gregory Hoblit wanted to make “Untraceable” technologically accurate.
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