At the start of Skyfall Bond is chasing down the hard drive which contains all the names of agents under cover.

Then later on in the film you find out that Silva is actually a genius hacker and he gains access to MI6s network and uses his hacking skills cause explosions and open doors etc.

So why did he not just use his hacking skills to hack his way into that list rather than going through the trouble he did?

3 Answers 3


He needed James Bond to come after him so he could be "captured“. This allows him to be close enough to kill M during her hearing. This is why he had someone steal the hard drive which led Bond to the poor, helpless woman. It was all a trap for Bond and ultimately M, from the beginning. It had nothing to do with the ease or difficulty of getting a list of names and locations of deep cover agents.

  • I don't think Silva wanting to get captured makes a whole lot of sense. The time and location of M's deposition wasn't really a secret. Getting caught by MI6 served no purpose, if anything, it made getting to M's hearing more difficult.
    – Oliver_C
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 20:07
  • 2
    It actually served a very good purpose. It allowed for a story that could have been wrapped up in 15 minutes, take over 2 hours, thus we feel we've gotten our monies worth. Plus we were able to see things get blown up and shot at. :)
    – dmcgill50
    Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 17:22
  • @Oliver_C The explosion at MI6 was to get to Bond, and not to kill M. It was part of his plan, though, but if he had killed her first, Bond would most likely have stayed "dead". Being captured was probably not his "Plan A", but since he brought Bond to his hideout he knew that if he wouldn't get Bond to join up he would be captured. Hence, the "Plan B" which included busting out of his cell and then escaping through the sewers.
    – Tom
    Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 20:08

I had a friend who used to work in government research. Apparently some items of data are so sensitive that you have to disconnect from the network (and definitely the internet) before accessing them.

Logically this list would be about as sensitive as it gets so it is unlikely to ever be put on a PC in way it can be network accessed and would only be transported via USB stick or something, probably under armed guard with various built in safety measures.

  • 8
    This technique is called an air gap.
    – boflynn
    Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 13:29

The list was on a hard drive on a laptop. If the laptop was online and if Silva knew where he had to look for, yes, he could have hacked on to the laptop. But considering the sensitive information of the list, it's plausible that this was kept offline, which means he would have no way of being able to hack into the laptop. Even if the laptop was online, Silva would have to know

  1. the specific information of the laptop
  2. when the laptop would be online
  3. having to break through any firewalls that might have been there.

As for how he could hack into MI6, he was an operative for them for many years. It's also possible that when he wasn't going on missions for MI6, he got the information necessary to know how to get into their system. I mean, James Bond was able to log on to M's computer in Casino Royale, so there must be some kind of weakness MI6 has yet to fix. And the MI6 servers were always online, and always in the same location, so that made getting past the firewalls the only major obstacle for him.

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