The Evolution of Cybersecurity
The internet has become an indispensable part of our lives. Newer technologies have created more scope for businesses and individuals to leverage the internet and create profits. However, with technological advancement, threats are also becoming more advanced.
In recent times, cybersecurity has become an essential issue for all. Paying particular attention to the security of data and systems has become crucial. However, to understand the full implications of cybersecurity, one must know how it has evolved over the decades. From being a harmless experiment to a money-making scheme for scammers, it has come a long way. Scroll down to read about the evolution of cybersecurity and what the future might hold.
The word “hacker” was not always what we understood it to be. Hacking was initially not about people breaking into computers and stealing information. It was the act of working within a confined system to produce unintended behavior. This can range from cracking passwords to gaining access to systems. It is not always unethical as well. In fact, it can even save a spaceship from air system malfunction!
Knowing how cybersecurity has evolved can help you understand various aspects of it. From the first cyberattack to the terminologies, multiple changes have made a significant impact on the way users navigate the internet.
The computers of this era were expensive as well as bulky. While they improved the connectivity, there are multiple risks involved with it as well. People during that time used to share one single computer. This used to be known as timesharing, which was a costly affair. However, this also resulted in people having access to other people’s data on the computer. This gave birth to specific preventive measures to ensure nobody else has unauthorized access to your data. This was the time when passwords became common, and this was the first instance of cybersecurity in the age of computers.
This was the era of ARPANET, which was the earlier variant of the internet. This gave birth to many new technologies, and everyone from tech enthusiasts to hackers was having a field day with it. New technologies such as email were being introduced. This also led to the development of malware as well. The first computer worms, known as Creeper and Reaper, were also developed during this time. However, these were more experiments than anything else, and the security of such malware was not considered a priority at the time. Everything that was happening was an academic endeavour aimed at developing the technology at the time. There was more focus on development and not much on security; however, gradually, it was starting to become a concern as well.
When the internet was formed in 1983, it was a time of utter chaos. More networks that added many potential targets and threats were emerging. The first harmful malware called ‘Morris Worm’ originated during that time. It was created to learn about the size of the internet but went out of control and kept multiplying itself, resulting in choked computers and clogged networks.
It was also the period of the Cold War that created panic in the minds of the people. Attacks were happening to steal sensitive military information. Dictionary attacks emerged, which used a list of stolen passwords and default credentials that were not strong enough to withstand cyberattacks. The preventive measures created during this time were the basis for modern cybersecurity measures.
This was the era when viruses were thriving. Computers were connected to the internet and were becoming more common. They can be found in offices and homes. More information was being stored on the internet than ever before. And more people than before were developing an interest in computers and experimenting with them. This led to many untrained individuals downloading a code and running it, not knowing its implications. A lot of these codes resulted in attacks that were created just for the fun of it.
The attacks became so widespread and scattered they gave birth to the anti-malware industry. Cybersecurity became a major concern and was now being taken seriously. Many companies have started to invest in cybersecurity to protect their data. Those with computers in their houses also started paying more attention to cybersecurity.
This was the era of digitization. Paper documents were being replaced with digital data. This was the time when monetary transactions also started becoming digitized. However, this also resulted in more serious cyberattacks. The scattered attacks now became organized and had the potential to cause large-scale damage. There were many bank breaches, and hackers started to hold corporate data for ransom. Cybercrime became widespread as real money could be earned from it.
Credit card breaches were the most common during this time. Cybersecurity became an even more serious concern, and businesses were now understanding how crucial it is because attacks were not just vandalizing systems but also causing disruption in operations, leading to losses.
The cyberattacks became more strategic, and threats grew significantly. Major corporations were now being targeted, and this led to the suffering of many private and government organizations. The increasing use of smart devices also increased the scope of damage such attacks could do.
Large-scale cybersecurity breaches have become widely common. Nation-states funded threat actors known as Advanced Persistent Threats that could cause damage on a large scale for an extended period of time. The personal information of individuals was being leaked and available for purchase, leading to rising anxiety among people about their cybersecurity.
The Present Scenario
Now, the world is interconnected, and there is nothing that is not achievable when it comes to the internet. Advancement in technology has led to more vulnerabilities, and this has led to cyberattacks taking a whole new meaning. Hackers don’t only rely on computers to do their work, they now also use emotional manipulation to gain access to the computer systems.
Since everything is happening on the internet and computers have become an important part of it all, cybersecurity has reached a whole new level of importance. Systems experiencing attacks and downtime now impact everybody, not just the company. To prevent such attacks, ethical hacking has become popular. Ethical hackers find the vulnerabilities and help in fixing them. The cybersecurity initiatives have become aggressive rather than defensive.
What does the Future of Cybersecurity Hold?
Cybersecurity threats are expected to become more advanced in the future. There has been significant development in cybersecurity, and it is only expected to increase in the future. Robust cybersecurity strategies have become important and will be a staple in all organizations that use the internet for their operations. As customers are becoming more aware and sensitive about their data, securing it has to become a priority for all businesses.
Companies need to be aggressive with their safety measures to protect sensitive data. In recent times, various databases have been hacked, leading to an increase in public distrust when it comes to sharing information online. However, companies must make sure that they are providing their customers with information regarding the measures they are taking to safeguard their information. Cybersecurity has become an essential part of the success of businesses, and it is not only limited to the creation of a safety wall between them and the attackers. It is now also a part of customers’ trust in your business.