History of Cyber Security - An Introduction


As opposed to the popular belief that Cyber security is a newborn field, it is not a new development that has just surfaced in these recent times. The history of cybersecurity goes way back to the times when computers had accessibility to the internet for the first time. Like any other field, cyber security has evolved. There were times when to keep your computer from getting attacked, you had to secure them with anti-virus.  While there were no prominent names attached to the harmful attacks occurring in those times as compared to now, the history of cyber security attacks has advanced as much as the technological growth.

Understanding the field of cybersecurity would be incomplete without knowing how it came about. Let us take a look back at the history of cyber security threats in this article and learn how far the field has come about. 

Beginning of Cyber security 

Since the first computers got online and began connecting, cybercrime has progressed considerably. Although the amount of risk is substantially higher today than it was then, these concerns appear to have always alarmed computer users, and with good cause.

As technology advances, cyber threats may evolve as well. Criminals in the sector are constantly coming up with new techniques to enter and obtain data. They could employ malware and ransomware to bring down everything from meat processing plants to nationwide petroleum connections.

A look at the history of cyber security through a timeline

The 1940s- Before the Crime 

Along with the creation of the first digital computer in 1943, these were the decades marked by limited use of computers and their use for criminal purposes. The existence of this electric device was unknown and unavailable to most people. In addition to the limited use of computers, there was no facility for interconnecting networks. There were no transfers of files or data and threats were almost nonexistent in this era. The later part of the era came about the theoretical development of viruses.

The 1950s: The Age of Phone Phreaks 

Hacking didn't start as a means of gathering data via computers. Rather, early telephone use may be more effectively related to the origins of computer hacking. This was clear in the 1950s when the practice of "phone phreaking" became popular.

People who were phone phreaks had a strong interest in how phones operated. They tried to take over the protocols that allowed engineers to work on the network from afar. People were able to make free calls and pay lower long-distance tolls as a result of this. It left many phone providers with no mechanism to prevent it from happening again.

There are reports that Apple's founders, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, were interested in the phone nerd subculture. Apple computers will later develop digital technology based on similar notions.

The 1960s- The dawn of change

The 1960s saw several advancements in the computer sector. Even still, computers remained massive and costly machines. The majority were massive mainframes that, when in use, were secured away from the general public and anyone else who might utilize them.

For the most part, the term "hacking" emerged during this decade. It began when a group of people hacked the MIT Tech Model Railroad Club's high-tech train sets, rather than from the usage of computers. They intended to make some changes to the way they worked. This year, the same idea was applied to computers. Even so, it didn't appear that hacking and acquiring access to these early computers were a "huge business." In reality, the goal of these early hacking incidents was to acquire access to systems. However, no political or commercial benefits were anticipated to result. Rather, early hacking was more about wreaking havoc to discover if it was possible.

New, faster, and more efficient hacking methods emerged over time. In 1967, a significant event occurred. IBM invited a group of students into their offices at the time to try out a newly designed computer. The language of the computer system was taught to the students. They were able to obtain access to different portions of the system. This gave IBM information on the system's flaws.

As a result, a defensive mindset developed, implying that computers required security measures to keep hackers out. This could have been the industry's first instance of ethical hacking.

This was a significant step forward in the establishment of cybersecurity plans. Computers became more widely utilized in the latter half of this decade, and considerably more so in the years to follow. They were also designed in a smaller size. This meant that businesses could afford them. Many businesses did so, purchasing the technology as a means of data storage. Locking the computers in a room didn't seem possible or desirable at the time. There were far too many employees who required labor. Passwords for computer access became popular at this time.

The 1970s: The dawn of Computer Security 

The 1970s can be called the genuine birth years of cybersecurity marking the starting point for The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network was the starting point for this (ARPANET). This was the connectivity network that existed before the internet.

A man named Bob Thomas discovered that a computer program could be moved across a network. The program would leave a trail behind it as it proceeded. He designed the program to be able to switch between Tenex terminals on ARPANET. This program was dubbed Creeper by Mr. Thomas. 

This drew a lot of attention as well as some anxiety. It was in response to this message that a man named Ray Tomlinson decided to create a new program. This program was dubbed Reaper by him. Tomlinson, who is best known for inventing email, created Reaper to track down and eliminate Creeper. Reaper is unquestionably the first example of antivirus software. 

By the middle of the decade, cybersecurity had progressed significantly. It was now vital for computer programmers to concentrate on developing safe and secure systems as well. The first cyber criminal was apprehended in 1979, as the decade came to a close. Kevin Mitnick was his name and was 16 years of age. He was able to gain access to The Ark. The Ark was a huge computer system used to create operating systems. The Digital Equipment Corporation was where it was kept. After gaining access to the software, Mr. Mitnick was capable of making copies of it. He was apprehended, arrested, and imprisoned as a result of his conduct. He was the first of several cyberattacks that would occur over the next few decades.

The 1980's - The dawn of the Internet

In the 1980s, high-profile attacks became more common, including those at National CSS, AT&T, and Los Alamos National Laboratory. In 1983, the film War Games was published, in which a rogue computer program takes over nuclear missile systems under the pretext of a game. The words Trojan Horse and Computer Virus were first used in the same year. The threat of cyber espionage evolved throughout the Cold War.

 The issue of security began to be treated more seriously. Savvy users rapidly learned to keep an eye on the size of the command.com file, as an increase in size was the first symptom of infection. This concept was incorporated into cybersecurity procedures, and a sudden decrease in free operating memory remains an indicator of assault to this day.

The year 1987 marks the beginning of cybersecurity. Although there are different claims about who invented the first antivirus product, 1987 was the birth year of commercial antivirus.

The 1990's: The Global adoption of the Internet

The internet's amazing growth and development spanned the entire decade. With it, the cybersecurity sector grew. Here are a few noteworthy happenings.

Viruses that are polymorphic have emerged as a threat. The first code that mutates as it infects people — while simultaneously maintaining the original algorithm – was created in 1990. The polymorphic virus was created with the goal of evading detection. This made it more difficult for computer users to notice it was present.

PC Today, a publication aimed at computer users, launched the DiskKiller malware. Thousands of PCs were infected. Subscribers to the magazine edition were given the DVD. They said it was an accident and that they were unaware of the danger.

The first anti-virus software was created. Cybercriminals created it to get around these restrictions.

New strategies were created over the years to help with the developing difficulties. Secure Socket Layer was one of them. It was created as a technique to keep users safe when browsing the internet. In 1995, the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) was implemented. It aided in the protection of activities such as online transactions. Its protocol was created by Netscape. It would later serve as the foundation for the HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) (HTTPS).

The 2000's Amplified and Diversified Threats

During this time, the internet grew at an astounding rate. Most homes and companies had computers. While this benefits customers, it also exposes crooks to new risks and opportunities.

Early in the decade, a new sort of infection emerged that did not require the downloading of files. It was enough to just visit a virus-infected website. This form of concealed infection was extremely dangerous. Instant messaging services were also infiltrated.

At the same time, the first hacker organization arose. People with specific hacking skills are usually included in these groupings. They could start a cyberattack campaign for a variety of reasons.

In the 2000s, there were additional credit card hacks. Data breaches involving credit cards were involved. During this period, there were also Yahoo attacks. These were discovered in 2013 and 2014. In one case, Yahoo accounts belonging to more than 3 billion users were hacked.

Top Cybersecurity Threats

The new digital age seemingly advancing with better technologies however is challenged by the emergence of higher sophisticated attack weapons by cybercriminals. 

The following are the top cybersecurity threats that are constantly surfacing

  • Malware
  • Emotet
  • Denial of Service
  • Man in the Middle
  • Phishing.
  • SQL Injection
  • Password Attacks

Become one of the most proficient Certified Ethical Hacker and help the world combat cyber security issues. Begin your career today with excellent training on one of the most in-demand skills - Certified Ethical  Hacker and be a top player in the cyber security domain.


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