WatchGuard Presents

A brief history of hacking.

1980
1990
2000
2010

The awesome 80s brought us Back to the Future, the IBM PC, Rubik’s Cube, Nintendo, and more. But, it also brought the first large-scale computer virus in history with a floppy disk infection called Elk Cloner, and closed out the decade with a not-so-awesome introduction to an early variant of ransomware – via the AIDS trojan.

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The hits kept on rolling into the 90s. We see the first polymorphic viruses in the Chameleon family, the first macro virus called Concept is released, and the Michelangelo virus is slated to cause a digital apocalypse. But, there’s no party like a 1999 party, right? Wrong. Ask Melissa, or should we say Mailissa, or Kwyjibo, or Kwejeebo? This virus shut the party down by infecting 20 percent of the world’s computers.

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The 2000s saw a dramatic increase in cyber threats. After surviving the non-disaster of Y2K, it seemed only appropriate to kick off the new millennium full of love. You may recall being one of the millions to get the ILOVEYOU email. Hopefully you didn’t click that attachment while you were distracted listening to Blink 182 on your new iPod. Within 10 days, more than 50 million computers were infected and it cost the world between $5-8 billion.

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We started the 2010s with a bang. Even though Mark Zuckerberg was Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2010, it’s not likely Iran remained FaceBook friends with the U.S. and Israel after the malicious worm Stuxnet. Designed to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program, Stuxnet targeted programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and used 4 zero day flaws across Microsoft Windows and Siemens Step7 software. Compromising the Iranian PLCs, this worm caused the centrifuges to tear themselves apart.

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Four decades of network security history - includes an in-depth eBook and printable posters of every decade.