I've been stumbling upon this problem for quite sometime now.

What kind of Operating System (or what is it branching from (ex: Linux, Windows...)) is Tony Stark using on his suite and Framework computer at the office when Pepper went to steal the data using the hacking dongle Tony gave her?

What would that hacking dongle do, like coding wise?

  • 1
    Huh? What OS? Maybe something he hacked together himself over a weekend, with this super-AI (was it called Jarvis?) that even has an own personality? Show me a Macbook that has that.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Sep 11, 2012 at 8:18
  • Why would he need to use an OS? He has a speaking computer, I think he can make his own "OS" or whatever his suit needs to function.
    – Alenanno
    Sep 11, 2012 at 8:52
  • @ChristianRau The question isn't about Jarvis, it's about in the office. When Pepper goes in to get files.
    – AlasdairCM
    Sep 11, 2012 at 10:54
  • 1
    Ah, now I get it. You mean his office computer in his suite instead of his workshop computer and his suit. Well ok, maybe that was even a normal OS, but still, who on earth cares? And what does this dongle do? Well, movie computer magic, I guess! But I haven't downvoted it anyway, since it is probably on-topic, even if baldly uninterresting (and probably unnanswerable) trivia.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Sep 11, 2012 at 10:56
  • 1
    Oh god the cringing that occurs whenever anything related to computers is shown in movies twitch
    – Tablemaker
    Sep 11, 2012 at 12:21

4 Answers 4


It's a fictional OS, designed by Philip Shtoll:

sample 1

sample 2

Not sure what the hacking dongle did exactly, but I guess it automatically accessed and downloaded certain files:

sample 3

(you can watch Philip Shtoll's work reel for the movie here)

  • From the pictures, I'd say it's inspired by OS X.
    – celtschk
    Sep 12, 2012 at 12:53
  • Thanks for the answer, that was a great detailed answer :) Sep 19, 2012 at 7:00
  • 6
    @celtschk sorry, but that's not even close to OSX,the use of sharp corners and minimalistic UI, clearly differs from your claim. Debian or Linux Mint is more suitable.
    – Rosenthal
    Nov 10, 2014 at 2:00
  • What "hacking dongle" did was grant access to pepper into the computer. that's it's purpose as tony said, this will give you access to his computer. data download part is manually done by pepper
    – Vishwa
    Nov 1, 2017 at 10:35
  • Hi there! Could you update the link in the first sentence? It doesn't work any longer.
    – A J
    Dec 1, 2020 at 9:09

I cannot exactly recall the scene but I would bet it is one that they have pretty much made up for the film. You could probably knock one up similar based on linux if you had the skills and inclination.

The hacking dongle would, most likely, do nothing for real. If you had a secure system it would not allow anything on the dongle to run without the admin password and the admin password would be strongly typed and closely guarded.

However, consider the fact that actual hacking is quite boring to watch. It is mainly a numbers game combined with some specialist knowledge. Not very cinematic.

Hence film makers have to find ways of making hacking scenes quick and obvious to viewers, that is probably what the dongle is doing. It is a plot device that keeps the story going.


As mentioned in the other answers, the operating system itself is a fake, but in terms of "what could the hacking dongle do, coding wise"... well, anything.

The Universal Serial Bus used for these devices already has a proof of concept allowing a machine to be compromised just from inserting a compromised USB stick:

BadUSB – Turning devices evil. Once reprogrammed, benign devices can turn malicious in many ways, including:

  • A device can emulate a keyboard and issue commands on behalf of the logged-in user, for example to exfiltrate files or install malware. Such malware, in turn, can infect the controller chips of other USB devices connected to the computer.
  • The device can also spoof a network card and change the computer’s DNS setting to redirect traffic.
  • A modified thumb drive or external hard disk can – when it detects that the computer is starting up – boot a small virus, which infects the computer’s operating system prior to boot.

It would simply be a case of knowing exactly what commands to send to get the data you need, and since it's Stark's computer accessing Stark's data storage via Stark's network, it's highly likely he already had those answers.


OSX or, if you want to use something very similar that is compatible on more types of computers .... I would say Debian 6 or Mint LMDE .... When Rhodey's suit reboots it looks VERY much like Debian linux.

  • 2
    I would have given a link to support if this was my answer.
    – Mistu4u
    Oct 26, 2012 at 3:53

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