In 1988, 11-year-old Dade "Zero Cool" Murphy (Jonny Lee Miller) is arrested and charged with crashing 1,507 computer systems in a single day and causing a single-day 7-point drop in the New York Stock Exchange. His family is fined $45,000 for the events and he is banned from using computers or touch-tone telephones until he is 18 years old. Seven years later, Dade is now living with his divorced mother in New York City. On Dade's 18th birthday, he receives a computer and uses social engineering (security) to hack into a local television station's computer network, changing the current TV program to an episode of ''The Outer Limits (1963 TV series)''. However, Dade's intrusion is countered by another hacker (Nickname#Computing "Acid Burn") on the same network, and they briefly converse, with Dade identifying himself by a new alias: "Crash Override".