Computer security, also known as cybersecurity, refers to the measures taken to protect computers, networks, and data from unauthorized access, attacks, or other forms of malicious activity. The field of computer security has evolved greatly over the years, in response to the increasing number and sophistication of threats to computer systems.
One of the earliest documented computer security incidents occurred in 1971, when a computer programmer named John Draper discovered that he could use a toy whistle that came with a box of Cap'n Crunch cereal to make free long-distance phone calls. This exploit, known as "phreaking," allowed Draper and others to bypass the phone company's security measures and make free calls.
In the 1980s, the rise of personal computers and the internet led to a proliferation of viruses, worms, and other malicious software, known as "malware." One of the most famous examples of malware from this period is the "Morris worm," which was released in 1988 and infected thousands of computers, causing widespread disruption.
The 1990s saw the rise of more sophisticated forms of cybercrime, including the use of "social engineering" tactics to trick people into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card numbers. In 1996, the "Love Bug" virus, which originated in the Philippines, was released and quickly spread around the world, infecting millions of computers and causing billions of dollars in damage.
The 21st century has seen an explosion of cyberattacks, with high-profile incidents such as the 2014 attack on Sony Pictures, the 2016 ransomware attack on the British National Health Service, and the 2017 "WannaCry" attack, which affected over 200,000 computers in 150 countries.
Today, computer security is a critical concern for individuals, businesses, and governments around the world. As technology continues to advance and become more integrated into our daily lives, the need for effective cybersecurity measures becomes even more important.