Timeline of computer security hacker history
Timeline of computer security hacker history. Hacking and system cracking appeared with the first electronic computers. Below are some important events in the history of hacking and cracking, e.g. first-of-its-kind events, events that began a new style of hacking/cracking, those that required some new kind of cybersecurity defense, or that had a significant impact on the public's view of hacking/cracking.
- 1 1900
- 2 1930s
- 3 1940s
- 4 1950s
- 5 1960s
- 6 1970s
- 7 1980s
- 8 1990s
- 9 2000s
- 10 2010s
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- Magician and inventor Nevil Maskelyne disrupts John Ambrose Fleming's public demonstration of Guglielmo Marconi's purportedly secure wireless telegraphy technology, sending insulting Morse code messages through the auditorium's projector.
- Polish cryptologists Marian Rejewski, Henryk Zygalski and Jerzy Różycki broke the Enigma machine code.
- Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman and Harold Keen worked together to develop the Bombe (on the basis of Rejewski's works on Bomba). The Enigma machine's use of a reliably small key space makes it vulnerable to brute force.
- Joe Engressia, a blind seven-year-old boy with perfect pitch, discovered that whistling the fourth E above middle C (a frequency of 2600 Hz) would interact with AT&T's implementation of fully automatic switches, thereby inadvertently opening the door for phreaking
- The first ever reference to malicious hacking is 'telephone hackers' in MIT's student newspaper, The Tech of hackers trying up the lines with Harvard, configuring the PDP-1 to make free calls, war dialing and accumulating large phone bills.
- William D. Mathews from MIT found a vulnerability in a CTSS running on an IBM 7094. The standard text editor on the system was designed to be used by one user at a time, working in one directory, and so created a temporary file with a constant name for all instantiations of the editor. The flaw was discovered when two system programmers were editing at the same time and the temporary files for the message-of-the day and the password file became swapped, causing the contents of the system CTSS password file to display to any user logging into the system.
- John T. Draper (later nicknamed Captain Crunch), his friend Joe Engressia, and blue box phone phreaking hit the news with an Esquire Magazine feature story.[dead link]
- Kevin Mitnick breaks into his first major computer system, the Ark, the computer system Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) used for developing their RSTS/E operating system software.
- The FBI investigates a breach of security at National CSS. The New York Times, reporting on the incident in 1981, describes hackers as
technical experts; skilled, often young, computer programmers, who almost whimsically probe the defenses of a computer system, searching out the limits and the possibilities of the machine. Despite their seemingly subversive role, hackers are a recognized asset in the computer industry, often highly prized
- The newspaper describes white hat activities as part of a "mischievous but perversely positive 'hacker' tradition". When a National CSS employee revealed the existence of his password cracker, which he had used on customer accounts, the company chastised him not for writing the software but for not disclosing it sooner. The letter of reprimand stated that "The Company realizes the benefit to NCSS and in fact encourages the efforts of employees to identify security weaknesses to the VP, the directory, and other sensitive software in files".
- Chaos Computer Club forms in Germany.
- Ian Murphy aka Captain Zap, was the first cracker to be tried and convicted as a felon. Murphy broke into AT&T's computers in 1981 and changed the internal clocks that metered billing rates. People were getting late-night discount rates when they called at midday. Of course, the bargain-seekers who waited until midnight to call long distance were hit with high bills.
- The 414s break into 60 computer systems at institutions ranging from the Los Alamos National Laboratory to Manhattan's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The incident appeared as the cover story of Newsweek with the title "Beware: Hackers at play". As a result, the U.S. House of Representatives held hearings on computer security and passed several laws.
- The group KILOBAUD is formed in February, kicking off a series of other hacker groups which form soon after.
- The movie WarGames introduces the wider public to the phenomenon of hacking and creates a degree of mass paranoia of hackers and their supposed abilities to bring the world to a screeching halt by launching nuclear ICBMs.
- In his Turing Award lecture, Ken Thompson mentions "hacking" and describes a security exploit that he calls a "Trojan horse".
- Someone calling himself Lex Luthor founds the Legion of Doom. Named after a Saturday morning cartoon, the LOD had the reputation of attracting "the best of the best"—until one of the most talented members called Phiber Optik feuded with Legion of Doomer Erik Bloodaxe and got 'tossed out of the clubhouse'. Phiber's friends formed a rival group, the Masters of Deception.
- The Comprehensive Crime Control Act gives the Secret Service jurisdiction over computer fraud.
- Cult of the Dead Cow forms in Lubbock, Texas, and begins publishing its ezine.
- The Chaos Communication Congress, the annual European hacker conference organized by the Chaos Computer Club, is held in Hamburg, Germany
- William Gibson's groundbreaking science fiction novel Neuromancer, about "Case", a futuristic computer hacker, is published. Considered the first major cyberpunk novel, it brought into hacker jargon such terms as "cyberspace", "the matrix", "simstim", and "ICE".
- KILOBAUD is re-organized into The P.H.I.R.M., and begins sysopping hundreds of BBSs throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.
- The online 'zine Phrack is established.
- The Hacker's Handbook is published in the UK.
- After more and more break-ins to government and corporate computers, Congress passes the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which makes it a crime to break into computer systems. The law, however, does not cover juveniles.
- Robert Schifreen and Stephen Gold are convicted of accessing the Telecom Gold account belonging to the Duke of Edinburgh under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 in the United Kingdom, the first conviction for illegally accessing a computer system. On appeal, the conviction is overturned as hacking is not within the legal definition of forgery.
- Arrest of a hacker who calls himself The Mentor. He published a now-famous treatise shortly after his arrest that came to be known as the Hacker's Manifesto in the e-zine Phrack. This still serves as the most famous piece of hacker literature and is frequently used to illustrate the mindset of hackers.
- Astronomer Clifford Stoll plays a pivotal role in tracking down hacker Markus Hess, events later covered in Stoll's 1990 book The Cuckoo's Egg.
- The Morris Worm. Graduate student Robert T. Morris, Jr. of Cornell University launches a worm on the government's ARPAnet (precursor to the Internet). The worm spreads to 6,000 networked computers, clogging government and university systems. Robert Morris is dismissed from Cornell, sentenced to three years probation, and fined $10,000.
- The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) is created by DARPA to address network security.
- The Father Christmas (computer worm) spreads over DECnet networks.
- Jude Milhon (aka St Jude) and R. U. Sirius launch Mondo 2000, a major '90s tech-lifestyle magazine, in Berkeley, California.
- The detection of AIDS (Trojan horse) is the first instance of a ransomware detection.
- Operation Sundevil introduced. After a prolonged sting investigation, Secret Service agents swoop down on organizers and prominent members of BBSs in 14 U.S. cities including the Legion of Doom, conducting early-morning raids and arrests. The arrests involve and are aimed at cracking down on credit-card theft and telephone and wire fraud. The result is a breakdown in the hacking community, with members informing on each other in exchange for immunity. The offices of Steve Jackson Games are also raided, and the role-playing sourcebook GURPS Cyberpunk is confiscated, possibly because the government fears it is a "handbook for computer crime". Legal battles arise that prompt the formation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, including the trial of Knight Lightning.
- Australian federal police tracking Realm members Phoenix, Electron and Nom are the first in the world to use a remote data intercept to gain evidence for a computer crime prosecution.
- The Computer Misuse Act 1990 is passed in the United Kingdom, criminalising any unauthorised access to computer systems.
- Release of the movie Sneakers, in which security experts are blackmailed into stealing a universal decoder for encryption systems.
- One of the first ISPs MindVox opens to the public.
- Bulgarian virus writer Dark Avenger wrote 1260, the first known use of polymorphic code, used to circumvent the type of pattern recognition used by Anti-virus software, and nowadays also intrusion detection systems.
- Publication of a hacking instruction manual for penetrating TRW credit reporting agency by Infinite Possibilities Society (IPS) gets Dr. Ripco, the sysop of Ripco BBS mentioned in the IPS manual, arrested by the US Secret Service.
- The first DEF CON hacking conference takes place in Las Vegas.
- AOL gives its users access to USENET, precipitating Eternal September.
- Summer: Russian crackers siphon $10 million from Citibank and transfer the money to bank accounts around the world. Vladimir Levin, the 30-year-old ringleader, uses his work laptop after hours to transfer the funds to accounts in Finland and Israel. Levin stands trial in the United States and is sentenced to three years in prison. Authorities recover all but $400,000 of the stolen money.
- Hackers adapt to emergence of the World Wide Web quickly, moving all their how-to information and hacking programs from the old BBSs to new hacker web sites.
- AOHell is released, a freeware application that allows a burgeoning community of unskilled script kiddies to wreak havoc on America Online. For days, hundreds of thousands of AOL users find their mailboxes flooded with multi-megabyte email bombs and their chat rooms disrupted with spam messages.
- December 27: After experiencing an IP spoofing attack by Kevin Mitnick, computer security expert Tsutomu Shimomura started to receive prank calls that popularized the phrase "My kung fu is stronger than yours".
- Cryptovirology is born with the scientific discovery of the cryptoviral extortion protocol that would later (circa 2005) be relabeled as ransomware.
- June: Eligible Receiver 97 tests the American government's readiness against cyberattacks.
- First high-profile attacks on Microsoft's Windows NT operating system
- In response to the MP3 popularity, the Recording Industry Association of America begins cracking down on FTPs . The RIAA begins a campaign of lawsuits shutting down many of the owners of these sites including the more popular ripper/distributors The Maxx (Germany, Age 14), Chapel976 (USA, Age 15), Bulletboy (UK, Age 16), Sn4rf (Canada, Age 14) and others in their young teens via their ISPs. Their houses are raided and their computers and modems are taken. The RIAA fails to cut off the head of the MP3 beast and within a year and a half, Napster is released.
- February: The Internet Software Consortium proposes the use of DNSSEC (domain-name system security extensions) to secure DNS servers.
- May 19: The seven members of the hacker think tank known as L0pht testifies in front of the US congressional Government Affairs committee on "Weak Computer Security in Government".
- September: Electronic Disturbance Theater, an online political performance-art group, attacks the websites of the Pentagon, Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo, and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, calling it conceptual art and claiming it to be a protest against the suppression of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in southern Mexico. EDT uses the FloodNet software to bombard its opponents with access requests.
- March: The Melissa worm is released and quickly becomes the most costly malware outbreak to date.
- July: CULT OF THE DEAD COW releases Back Orifice 2000 at DEF CON
- September 16: The United States Department of Justice sentences the "Phone Masters".
- May: The ILOVEYOU worm, also known as VBS/Loveletter and Love Bug worm, is a computer worm written in VBScript. It infected millions of computers worldwide within a few hours of its release. It is considered to be one of the most damaging worms ever. It originated in the Philippines; made by an AMA Computer College student for his thesis.
- September: teenage hacker Jonathan James becomes first juvenile to serve jail time for hacking.
- February: A Dutch cracker releases the Anna Kournikova virus, initiating a wave of viruses that tempts users to open the infected attachment by promising a sexy picture of the Russian tennis star.
- July: Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov is arrested at the annual Def Con hacker convention. He is the first person criminally charged with violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
- January: Bill Gates decrees that Microsoft will secure its products and services, and kicks off a massive internal training and quality control campaign.
- May: Klez.H, a variant of the worm discovered in November 2001, becomes the biggest malware outbreak in terms of machines infected, but causes little monetary damage.
- The hacktivist group Anonymous was formed.
- April 2: Rafael Núñez aka RaFa, a notorious member of the hacking group World of Hell, is arrested following his arrival at Miami International Airport for breaking into the Defense Information Systems Agency computer system on June 2001.
- November 3: Jeanson James Ancheta, whom prosecutors say was a member of the "Botmaster Underground", a group of script kiddies mostly noted for their excessive use of bot attacks and propagating vast amounts of spam, was taken into custody after being lured to FBI offices in Los Angeles.
- May: Jeanson James Ancheta receives a 57-month prison sentence,  and is ordered to pay damages amounting to $15,000.00 to the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake and the Defense Information Systems Agency, for damage done due to DDoS attacks and hacking. Ancheta also had to forfeit his gains to the government, which include $60,000 in cash, a BMW, and computer equipment. .
- May 17: Estonia recovers from massive denial-of-service attack.
- June 13: FBI Operation Bot Roast finds over 1 million botnet victims.
- June 21: A spear phishing incident at the Office of the Secretary of Defense steals sensitive U.S. defense information, leading to significant changes in identity and message-source verification at OSD.
- November 29: FBI Operation Bot Roast II: 1 million infected PCs, $20 million in losses and 8 indictments
- January 17: Project Chanology; Anonymous attacks Scientology website servers around the world. Private documents are stolen from Scientology computers and distributed over the Internet.
- April 4: Conficker worm infiltrated millions of PCs worldwide including many government-level top-security computer networks.
- January 12: Operation Aurora Google publicly reveals that it has been on the receiving end of a "highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google"
- June: Stuxnet The Stuxnet worm is found by VirusBlokAda. Stuxnet was unusual in that while it spread via Windows computers, its payload targeted just one specific model and type of SCADA systems. It slowly became clear that it was a cyber attack on Iran's nuclear facilities - with most experts believing that Israel was behind it - perhaps with US help.
- December 3: The first Malware Conference, MALCON takes place in India.
- The hacker group Lulz security is formed.
- April 17: An "external intrusion" sends the PlayStation Network offline, and compromises personally identifying information (possibly including credit card details) of its 77 million accounts, in what is claimed to be one of the five largest data breaches ever.
- May: MyBB is hacked by newly founded hacker group, UGNazi, the website was defaced for about a day, they claim their reasoning for this was because they were upset that the forum board Hackforums.net uses their software.
- June 5: The social networking website LinkedIn has been hacked and the passwords for nearly 6.5 million user accounts are stolen by cybercriminals. As a result, a United States grand jury indicted Nikulin and three unnamed co-conspirators on charges of aggravated identity theft and computer intrusion.
- February 7: The Bitcoin exchange Mt.Gox filed for bankruptcy after $460 million was apparently stolen by hackers due to "weaknesses in [their] system" and another $27.4 million went missing from its bank accounts.
- November 24: In response to the release of the film The Interview, the servers of Sony Pictures are hacked by a hacker group calling itself "Guardian of Peace".
- July: The hacker group "Impact Team" breached the servers of extramaritial affairs website Ashley Madison.
- December 23: Ukraine's power grid was attacked by hackers, making it the first known successful cyberattack on a power grid.
- July: Wikileaks published the documents from the 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak. At the same month a suspected Chinese hacking group launched hacker attacks on the website of Vietnam Airlines.
- The 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak is a piece of evidence behind the alleged 2016 United States election interference by Russia
- October: The 2016 Dyn cyberattack is being conducted with a botnet consisting of IOTs infected with Mirai by the hacktivist groups SpainSquad, Anonymous, and New World Hackers, reportedly in retaliation for Ecuador's rescinding Internet access to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at their embassy in London, where he has been granted asylum.
- September: The Mirai botnet is behind one of the largest ever seen DDoS attacks against cybercrime researcher Brian Krebs's website
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