What was the world’s first cyber attack?

Cyber-attack is an attempt to use malicious code to disrupt a computer network or gain unauthorized access resulting in severe consequences.

According to Liverpool web design cyber –attacks can lead to significant financial losses to any business arising from the theft of financial information, disruption of trading and the financial obligation of repairing the affected systems after the attack has taken place.

The world’s first cyber-attack

In 1988 November a graduate student from Cornell called Robert Morris was curious about how big the internet was. He wanted to determine the number of computers that were connected to it, and so he developed a programme that would move from computer to computer asking every machine connected to the internet, to send a feedback signal to the control server enabling the counting process. Liverpool web design discloses he was in his 20s at the time, and despite his anticipation and placing checks to avoid the programme from moving too fast. The limits he placed proved to be inadequate in ensuring the programme did not congest huge sections of the internet. By the time he realized what was going on even his warning system messages with regards to the problem couldn’t get through.

This programme was the very first type of a cyber-attack in which a lot of devices connected to the internet are asked to direct a lot of traffic to a specific address overwhelming it with a whole lot of activities such that the system is incapacitated and shuts down or the network connections are blocked. Liverpool web design reports that there has since been an increase in similar cyber-attacks today especially with the tremendous growth in technology since that very first instance.

The programme now widely referred to as the “Morris worm” ushered in other possibly devastating worms and viruses with time which increased cyber-attack frequency. Worms and viruses essentially both interfere with the normal performance of systems and computers, however, Liverpool web design differentiates the two as below;

  • A worm is a computer programme which is independent and only requires a computer network to replicate and spread itself depending on the security loopholes of the target computer.
  • A computer virus needs the hacker to input a command to run its programme.

At the time of the attack, not many people were concerned about the protection of their computers from harmful software and due to this inadequacy of protective software in most of the devices the spread was very quick. It took up to 72 for researchers to be able to stop the worm and in this time the worm had affected thousands of computers most of which were connected to the internet.

It costed a fortune for each of the affected computers to be cleaned of the infection, Liverpool web design estimates hundreds of thousands of dollars were used in the disinfection of these machines. Morris’s curiosity of the internet which led to the widespread effect of the worm resulted in his prosecution under the Computer Fraud and abuse act.

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