The Evolution of Hacking

The Evolution of Hacking

By Stu Sjouwerman, for Security Awareness Training

It helps to understand more about the history of hacking, when you need to defend yourself against cyber criminals. So here is your Executive Summary:

Early hacking started when guys like Kevin Mitnick became ‘digital delinquents’ and broke into the phone company networks. That was to a large degree to see how far they could get with social engineering, and it got them way further than expected. Actual financial damage to hundreds of thousands of businesses started only in the nineties, but has moved at rocket speed these last 20 years.

Generation ONE
Those were the teenagers in dark, damp cellars writing viruses to gain notoriety, and to show the world they were able to do it. Relatively harmless, no more than a pain in the neck to a large extent. We call them sneaker-net viruses as it usually took a person to walk over from one PC to another with a floppy disk to transfer the virus.

Generation TWO
These early day ‘sneaker-net’ viruses were followed by a much more malicious type of super-fast spreading worms (we are talking a few minutes) like Sasser and NetSky that started to cause multi-million dollar losses. These were still more or less created to get notoriety, and teenagers showing off their “elite skills”.

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This excerpt appears with permission from

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