Historical Aspect of Information Security

Historical Aspect of Information Security

Information security began immediately after the first mainframes were developed. Groups developing code-breaking computations during World War II created the first modern computers. Earliest Information Security was physical security to limit access to sensitive military locations to authorized personnel. Rudimentary in defending against physical theft, espionage, and sabotage.

The 1960s

Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) began to examine feasibility of redundant networked communications. Larry Roberts developed ARPANET from its inception. (ARPANET, in computer science, the network of about 60,000 medium-to-large-scale computers developed by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the United States Department of Defense and established in the 1960s to enable universities and research organizations to exchange information freely. ARPANET, although part of the Department of Defense, was never classified as a government or military network. In 1990 ARPANET was replaced by the National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) to connect its supercomputers to regional networks. NSFNET now operates as the high-speed backbone of the Internet.

The 1970s and 80s

ARPANET grew in popularity as did its potential for misuse. Fundamental problems with ARPANET security were identified (No safety procedures for dial-up connections to ARPANET, Non-existent user identification and authorization to system).  In the 1970s, Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) examines DES (Data Encryption Standard) for information protection. (Wide area networks (WANs) are networks that span large geographical areas. Computers can connect to these networks to use facilities in another city or country. For example, a person in Addis Ababa can browse through the computerized archives of the Library in Bahrdar or some other place. The largest WAN is the Internet, a global consortium of networks linked by common communication programs and protocols (a set of established standards that enable computers to communicate with each other). The Internet is a mammoth resource of data, programs, and utilities. American computer scientist Vinton Cerf was largely responsible for creating the Internet in 1973 as part of the United States Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In 1984 the development of Internet technology was turned over to private, government, and scientific agencies. The World Wide Web, developed in the 1980s by British physicist Timothy Berners-Lee, is a system of information resources accessed primarily through the Internet. Users can obtain a variety of information in the form of text, graphics, sounds, or video. These data are extensively cross-indexed, enabling users to browse (transfer their attention from one information site to another) via buttons, highlighted text, or sophisticated searching software known as search engines.) DARPA creates a report on vulnerabilities on military information systems in 1978. In 1979 two papers were published dealing with password security and UNIX security in remotely shared systems. In the 1980s the security focus was concentrated on operating systems as they provided remote connectivity.


Information security began with Rand Report R-609 (paper that started the study of computer security). Scope of computer security grew from physical security to include: Safety of data, Limiting unauthorized access to data, and Involvement of personnel from multiple levels of an organization.

The 1990s

In the 1990s, the growth of the Internet and the growth of the LANs contributed to new threats to information stored in remote systems. IEEE, ISO, ITU-T, NIST and other organizations started developing many standards for secure systems. Networks of computers became more common; so too did the need to interconnect networks. Internet became first manifestation of a global network of networks. In early Internet deployments, security was treated as a low priority.

The Present

The Internet brings millions of computer networks into communication with each other many of them unsecured. Ability to secure a computer's data influenced by the security of every computer to which it is connected.