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Internet Security Specialists


Hacking first began in the telecommunications industry. Cracking a telephone system was called phreaking and involved learning how the telephone system worked and then manipulating it. As PCs began to hook up to networks via telephone lines and modems, phreaking took on new meaning and the information at risk took on greater importance.

November 2, 1988, is sometimes called Black Thursday by pioneers of the Internet community. On that day, a single program called a worm, was released onto the early form of the Internet (then called the ARPANET) and quickly rendered thousands of connected computers useless. The creator of the program, Robert Morris Jr., shocked at how quickly it was spreading, sent an anonymous message to Internet users telling them how to kill the worm and preventing it from infecting more computers. Morris was convicted of a federal felony and sentenced to three years probation, 400 hours of community service, and $10,050 in fines.

With the release of the Morris Worm, a group of computer experts from the National Computer Security Center, part of the National Security Agency, gathered to discuss the susceptibility to attack of Internet-connected computers. Out of these meetings, the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Coordination Center (which is now known as the CERT Division), a federally funded organization that monitors and reports activity on the Internet, was started at Carnegie Mellon University. This is considered the beginning of Internet security.

Since the explosion of Internet use and Internet shopping, including use by mobile or cellular devices, the need for Internet security measures has increased dramatically. Just as security specialists develop programs to prevent viruses or hackers from endangering clients' data, these hackers find a weakness in the program allowing them access. The need is constant, and will continue for the foreseeable future.

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