Angela Bennett (Sandra Bullock) is a computer expert who works for a software company called Cathedral Systems out of her home in Venice, California. Isolated and introverted, her only face-to-face contact in the world is her mother who has been institutionalized with Alzheimer's disease. This proves to be a drawback when she has to prove her identity over the course of this very suspenseful film.

Angela's problems begin when she is asked to analyze a program that is being marketed as a protection against computer viruses but is really being used to gain access to data stored in computer systems from airline and hospital records to bank vaults. When the computer geniuses behind this nefarious project discover that she has a copy of the program, they set out to destroy her, starting with her credibility. A hit man (Jeremy Northam) who is also a hacker plays havoc with the details of her identity in computer-based data files.

Director Irwin Winkler draws out a sturdy performance from Bullock who must use all her wits and computer wizardry to stay alive and stop the techno-villains. The Net proves that cyberspace is not nirvana and that we all have a lot more thinking to do about computers, the Internet, privacy protection, and place-based community.