Beyond Identity covers the history of cybersecurity, from the first program to the rise of two-factor verification.

Updated Jun 7, 2022

History of online security, from CAPTCHA to multifactor authentication

As more people are moving their work to remote computers, it is more and more common for them to try to hold secure meetings over technologies like Zoom from home. While some criminal activities like skimming your credit card at gas pumps may be falling out of fashion as fewer people commute, other activities, such as classic hacking, can thrive as long as people are using their computers to work remotely, opening new opportunities for hackers. Over the past five years, there have been more than two million complaints to the FBI about various cybercrimes, including identity theft, extortion, and phishing, with losses exceeding $7 billion.

To understand landmark moments in internet security over the past 50 years, Beyond Identity collected information from think tanks, news reports, and industry professionals. The internet was started as a government program to connect military and government facilities. Smart people from universities have long been inventing new ways to poke holes in the internet as a form of preventive research.

Over the years, security has evolved as developers strive to stay one step ahead of hackers

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Updated Jun 7, 2022

1970s: Antivirus software

According to a report from Cyber Magazine, the first computer virus was created in the 70s and was called ARPANET. Researchers wanted to see how they could hypothetically take over their own system. Ray Tomlinson wrote a program called “Reaper”, which was used to chase and destroy Creeper. That makes the program the first of its kind.

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Updated Jun 7, 2022

1970s: Encryption

The field of mathematics and security involves setting codes and storing information for safe transportation. A piece of information is Encryption simply means applying a cipher to it. IBM had one of the first examples of network encryption with computers. The data encryption standard lasted for more than 20 years before it was finally broken. Researchers are racing to keep their mathematics ahead of those who are trying to use the same computing power to break the algorithms.

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Updated Jun 7, 2022

2000s: CAPTCHA

The internet was growing rapidly in the late 1990s, with intrusive technology like cookies and viruses following. People realized they could use automated processes to post comments on websites at a huge scale.

The way to combat those bots was invented in 2000. Humans do a lot of tasks without thinking, and computer programs are no exception. It paved the way for other forms of security, like the popular “Which of these pictures shows a motorcycle?”, even though CAPTCHA is no longer used in most usages. The CAPTCHAs are still being used.

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Updated Jun 7, 2022

2000s: Multifactor authentication

Multifactor is a form of login technology that requires users to give a second corroborative piece of information along with their simple username and password. This can come in the form of a text message or through an app. The technology was first introduced to consumers in the 2000s when it was introduced to banks. In 2004, the New York Times reported on the rise of two-factor Authentication, a time when many Americans didn’t have broadband internet.

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Updated Jun 7, 2022

2010s: Zero trust

You may be starting to feel like no piece of data is safe if you have read this far. You aren’t alone. The pace at which criminals and other bad actors are following new forms of intrusion makes computer security complex and always changing. Zero trust is a term that means doing away with previous ideas such as trusted devices. Users would only be allowed access to data and information needed to complete a request

The story was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker studio.

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