It is necessary to know who started all this and from where the concern for cybersecurity arise. Twenty-five years ago, cybersecurity was not a popular word in the vocabulary of IT. But it is now. In this chapter, you will get to know about the history of cybersecurity and how it came into existence.
The Year 1970’s
In the year 1970, a famous researcher of BBN Technologies in Cambridge name Robert (Bob) Thomas produced the very first computer virus, realizing that a system can roam across a network, i.e., from one source to destination and leaving a tiny trail (part of it) wherever it traverses. So, based on the working, it named that program as “Creeper”. Now he planned to make it travel between “Tenex terminals on the old ARPANET”, and wherever it goes, it left a trail by printing ” I’M THE CREEPER: CATCH ME IF YOU CAN.” this message.
This was the beginning of this modern era of cybercrime. Then another person named Ray Tomlinson (the person who invented the concept of email) saw the idea of “Creeper” exciting and planned for something big. He started tweaking with the Creeper’s source code and prepared it with self-replicating capabilities — and was unaware of the fact that he has created the first computer virus. Then the quest continued, and he planned to make a cure for that as well, so he wrote another program — Reaper, the first antivirus program — that has the potential to chase Creeper and delete it from the system.
The Year 1980’s
Another researcher named Robert T. Morris was a student at Cornell University, who was a computer science graduate who developed the first known “computer worm” and named it Morris Worm. The worm was a part of his research project where the aim of it was to gauge the size of the Internet by contaminating all UNIX systems to tot-up the number of connected devices throughout the web. But because of the programming error, the worm infected all machines repeatedly, causing the networks to block and it’s systems to crash. It is becoming the first worm to stretch “on the internet” and received media coverage and the first code to abuse and exploit a system’s vulnerabilities.
The Growth of the Antivirus (AV) industry
The security of computers and other technologies has gradually become a business and gave rise to the industry of antivirus and gradually sub-categorized into anti-malware, anti-rootkits, and anti-ransomware, and many more programs that can protect the systems from malicious programs. It was the early 90s when many companies evolved in securing the systems and networks where their products scan all the binaries of any given system against the database of signatures provided by the antivirus developers. Gradually, these antiviruses were designed smarter for scanning computed hashes in files and searching a list of strings and codes that usually exist in malware.
Where are we now?
We are in the era where a single file (infected) can cause massive damage to individuals and the entire organization, server, satellite systems, research labs, the stock market, or industries as well as factories in a fraction of seconds without getting detected.