A short history of hacks, worms and cyberterror

Phreakers and phishers, cybercrooks and criminals have strutted their stuff over the Internet


AT&T begins crackdown on "phreakers," who use tone generators to make free phone calls. By 1970, it has achieved 200 convictions.



Engineers at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center design a computer worm, a short program that searches a network for underused processors. Though built to improve computer efficiency, it is the genesis of the destructive, modern worm.


The FBI busts young hackers known as the 414s, who use an Apple II+ and a modem to break into 60 computer systems, including one at Los Alamos National Laboratory.


"The Brain," one of the first PC viruses, is released in Pakistan.



30-year-old Russian Vladimir Levin leads a group of hackers who break into Citibank's systems and steal millions of dollars. Levin is later sentenced to three years in prison.



Hackers alter Web sites of the U.S. Department of Justice in August, the CIA in October and the U.S. Air Force in December. The GAO reports that hackers attempted to break into Defense Department computer files 250,000 times in 1995 alone. About 65% of the attempts were successful, according to the report.


The Solar Sunrise attacks exploit well-known vulnerabilities in Sun's Solaris operating system to implant sniffer programs in more than 500 military, government and private-sector computer systems. Investigators originally suspect operatives in Iraq, but later learn that two California teenagers were responsible.


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Mari Keefe

Computerworld (US)
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