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Walter's security code is 31564-F. Here is a picture of him using it in the beginning of the film:

enter image description here

At the end of Alien: Covenant,

David enters the ship as Walter and makes a final log entry using Walter's credentials.

This can be corroborated from reviews such as Collider's:

[David] also somehow knows all of Walter’s access codes.

Or from Wikipedia:

[David uses] Walter's name to record a log stating that all crew members except Daniels and Tennessee were killed by the neutrino blast at the beginning of the film.

I double-checked and here's the log code used by David.

enter image description here

So, how does David know Walter's access codes to record a log posing as Walter?

  • 1
    It seems like David managed to transfer himself (his knowledge/memories) onto Walter's physical body. That way he could access Walter's stored knowledge/memory but it also raises another question about David unable to act out remembering about the cabin while putting Daniels into Hypersleep. – chiragjn May 23 '17 at 12:59
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    The difference in bodies was basically the cut off hand. The most likely explanation is, he just cut off his own hand after defeating Walter. – CyberClaw May 23 '17 at 13:32
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    He could have "asked" walter when he supposedly killed him. Considering the difference in hairstyle between Walter and David, I also think he didn't transfer himself onto Walter's body. – M.Polo May 23 '17 at 14:17
  • @chiragjn David did not have access to all Walters knowledge. This is evident because David did not know about the cabin, that Walter and Daniels had talked about earlier. Davids ignorance of the cabin exposes hs true identity to Daniels, but too late. – Rasmus Larsen Jul 20 '17 at 19:58
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    @RasmusLarsen is it possible that David specifically picked Walter's brain (almost literally) before "overwriting" himself onto it? He knew to first look for Walter's access codes, but did not consider retaining the cabin story as it was not something he'd know he'd need. – Flater Sep 6 '17 at 15:14
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Weyland ships probably have the same security codes

When Walter first talks to David one-on-one, he notes that "you're not surprised to see me", to which David responds that it seems natural to him that there would be androids on future ships with similar roles to his. Walter and David are soon shown to know many of the same things, including poetry, music, and details of their own construction. Later, in the scene at the end, David seems to be rattling off the security codes with an air of "this will work even though I've never been on this ship before", and he's apparently right.

My interpretation of the scene at the end was that all androids of David and Walter's line know the ship override codes, and the security codes were the same between the Prometheus and the Covenant because there was no particular reason to change them. A running theme in the Alien films is that the Weyland(-Yutani) Corporation tends to have motivations and cost-cutting measures that turn out to run counter to the best interests of the protagonist crew members, and not bothering to have different android override codes for different ships (because what could go wrong?) would definitely be in line with that characterization.

  • So this security code isn't specifically related to Walter, but just a general code for all Weyland ships? – BlueMoon93 Sep 16 '17 at 12:13
  • @BlueMoon93 That's my guess. David's relationship to Walter is always characterized as "I know everything you know, and more", so that's what I interpreted this scene as following from. – Milo P Sep 18 '17 at 15:40
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In the same vein as other answers but bringing in more direct evidence from the film: In the opening scene, we see Weyland examining David 8. During their conversation, Weyland states that David is his son.

My opinion is that David has root access to Weyland systems because he is David. Weyland is in possession of Michelangelo's David (It is a peerless work of art. I have seen it with my own eyes.) and considers himself to be a type of Michaelangelo having given the Android this name intentionally with this implication. He is incautious with his creation and gives David too much power as a father might spoil a child. He did not consider that David might have his own opinions and feelings and instead of treating him with love and respect he makes David a servant asking him to pour tea. This is the seed of Davids resentment. We then see the consequences of Weyland, Oram and the Engineers arrogance and incautiousness play out in the film.

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Some of the fallacy questions revolve around his arm, clothing, injuries and knowledge of codes. It’s completely possible that David incapacitated him and somehow loaded his code and overrode Walter’s system. It also explains his fixed voice box, and near identical appearance to Walter on the ship e.g. his hair. I think it’s the most logical answer, albeit still a stretch. Think about the component that he pulled out of Walter, after he disabled him the first time. It could have been an open port that he later took advantage of.

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My question isn't canon or proven, but it's based on some pretty common current understanding of technology, so it deals more with possibilities.

Walter isn't human. His memories and programming are probably stored in a very predictable, reliable, mapped-out fashion.

Just like if the heads on a non-SSD/Flash drive crashes, you can take it to a service that can dismantle the drive, remove the actual disc platters, read and restore any data that isn't on the part of a disc platter that is physically damaged. The data is actually stored in pretty random fashion, but since there are standards for where the meta-data for how the files' information is saved, they can reconstruct most of the files (again, if the directory information portion of the platters isn't physically damaged).

Programming has to get loaded onto the androids somehow. Also, if one goes bad, gets damaged, or otherwise needs to be replaced, would they just write off all the information gathered, or would they load it onto a new replacement model, to pick up where the other left off? I'd think that any kind of design planning would have had a way to onload and offload data, so there would be designed, built-in, normal means for both getting information off of one, and for another to take it on.

Once Walter is incapacitated, David has time and skills available, though it is not shown, to extract that information. As a souped-up computer-driven entity, himself, accessing that information in a more easily usable way (vs. putting it onto a laptop and then decoding files) might even be built into his own hardware, to a certain extent.

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It would be kind of weird if Weyland ships had the same access codes for over 10 years.

I also don't believe David had enough time to transfer himself into Walter ( plus his hair is different and has no instant healing capabilities), or even read Walter's data (plus he has no knowledge of the lake cabin). It's even a stretch that he had enough time to change clothes and cut of his arm and still make it outside just after Daniels.

It's just another plot hole, like the missing chin wound and many others.

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