The History of Cyber Security 1940-1970

The History of Cyber Security 1940-1970

The beginnings - von Neumann, Phreaking, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, ARPANET, Creeper and Reaper  

When do you think cyber security became an issue for modern people? In 90s or even in 2000s. In fact, it started much earlier. While the theory of computer viruses, on which they are still based, was already published in 1949 by John von Neumann. His thesis speculated on the possibility of programs reproducing themselves, which is what computer viruses do. Of course, von Neumann did not think that this speculation and later findings would be abused by criminal minds for their own purposes. But as with many previous examples, evil finds something in the most chaste of all things that allows them to be corrupted for their services. There is also a fun fact from the 1940s: on September 9, 1947, a moth died in the Harvard Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator, triggering a bug. The very first documented computer bug.  

In the decades to come, the people who had devices were limited and the costs were high. Even for possible attackers. This protected the little data that was stored on these programs - mostly this data was uninteresting anyway. So machines regulated the temperature in buildings, stored transcripts and were space-consuming devices. In the 1950s, in fact, the first simple hacks appeared: in so-called phone phreaking, attackers used captured protocols from telecom engineers, which allowed them to make free calls and avoid the cost of long calls. The "phreakers" became a phenomenon, because the phone companies could not defend themselves, and phreaking became more popular. Within the groups, newsletters were created and sent out, among the recipients were two young men, an enthusiastic and ingenious hacker named Steve Wozniak and a certain Steve Jobs - the men who, together with Ron Wayne, were to found the Apple company in 1976.  

In 1972, cyber security was invented. At that time the ARPANET, Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, was a topic. The ARPANET is one of the predecessors of the Internet. For this network, researcher Bob Thomas developed Creeper. Creeper was a program that moved through the ARPANET and left small crumbs in the form of a message at the places where the program "appeared". This message read: "I'm the creeper, catch me if you can". The inventor of e-mail Ray Tomlinson accepted Bob Thomas' unspoken challenge and wrote the program Reaper. Reaper was able to search and delete creepers. Reaper was not only a very early and simple version of an antivirus, it was also the first program that could replicate itself. This made Reaper the first computer worm.  

Coming soon, the next digression about the history of cyber security. Therefore, follow our blog and social media channels. Do you have any questions about this article or about QUANTUM cyber lab AG products and services? Then please do not hesitate to contact us, our team will be happy to answer your questions and advise you in detail.  

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