He hacked Jurassic Park's security system 31 years ago and today we know what's in the source code


Dennis Nedry undermined Jurassic Park's security system.  But how good is he really?  (Image: Universal)

Dennis Nedry undermined Jurassic Park's security system. But how good is he really? (Image: Universal)

Hacking in movies is always a thing. Even though we have moved on from the age in which evil hackers wearing ski masks pound the keys in front of the computer, a lot of things are still misrepresented.

What does it actually look like in the case of Jurassic Park? After all, the park's chief programmer, Dennis Nedry (played by Wayne Knight), released the dinosaurs.

His plan was to use the malware “Whte_rbt.obj” – a reference to Alice in Wonderland – to disable the park's security system in order to get valuable dinosaur embryos.

The Internet watched his screen and analyzed his source code. The discussion in a developer forum began years ago, but with the upcoming announcement of Jurassic World 4, we wanted to take it up again for you.

This can be seen on the display

The discussion around Nedry's code began years ago in the StackExchange forum. There, the users took a close look at the programmer's screen.

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A lot of code, but what's behind it?  (Image: Universal)
A lot of code, but what's behind it?  (Image: Universal)






A lot of code, but what's behind it? (Image: Universal)

Let's go through what to see in order.

The computer: This is a Macintosh Quadra 700. It came onto the market in 1991 – two years before the film was shown in cinemas.

The program: In three windows you can see that Nedry is using Macintosh Programmer's Workshop.

The content: There is an interesting name at the top left of the picture: “NEDRYLAND :MPW:Examples”. MPW refers to the development environment mentioned above.

In the same shell we see the NewHandle(GetHandleSize()) function, which was part of the classic Mac OS API before Apple switched to BSD/Unix.

However, there are also hints about the Pascal programming language in the screenshot. According to forum users, the operator “:=” and the syntax “if/else” are indications of this.

The right window shows a script related to source code versioning. The StackExchange forum has identified this as an MPW shell, based on the Unix C shell language.

There is another script hidden at the bottom of the screen in the farthest window. However, this is only used to convert images from PICT format into binary files, as is common in software development.

And can this now be used to release dinosaurs?

The Dilophosaurus was Nedry's end in the film - and probably didn't look anything like that.  (Image: Universal)
The Dilophosaurus was Nedry's end in the film - and probably didn't look anything like that.  (Image: Universal)






The Dilophosaurus was Nedry's end in the film – and probably didn't look anything like that. (Image: Universal)

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Unfortunately no. Nedry doesn't turn out to be a super hacker. Everything in the shells is just sample code that came with the version of MPW.

At first glance, the windows and their contents look quite complicated, but upon closer inspection, the villain couldn't have even come close to defeating the security system.

Incidentally, Nedry met his end later in the film at the hands of a Dilophosaurus – for whose ability to spit poison, as well as his neck brace, there is still no scientific evidence to date.

This example shows how computers can ruin old films for us:

Nils also reported on a hidden Easter egg related to Nedry. My colleague Patrick Poti took a close look at three amazing film effects.

There are some other interesting facts about Jurassic Park: Did you know that some of the noises dinosaurs make come from animals in heat? In fact, out of the running time of 123 minutes, dinosaurs can only be seen for 15 minutes. And there were all sorts of problems with the well-known T-Rex, because it had to be dried from the inside by hand every now and then because of the rain.

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