The History of Hacking

Hacking. It's one of the most controversial topics in the cyber security industry, whether it be 'ethical' hacking or malicious. Regularly we see in the news of data breaches due to hacks, companies fined millions of pounds for allowing such breaches, and no one knowing how it happened. But, when did hacking start? Lucky for us TBG Security created a 'timeline' of hacking, from Robert Morris' "worm" to the Master Card and Visa hack, below are some of the key points in the history of hacking...


Robert Morris creates the 'Morris Worm' (1988): Although the term hacking can be used as far back as the 1960s, the Morris Worm was a pivotal point in hacking, as it defined the internet as infinite. This was also one of the first hacking incidents to gain a mass amount of media attention.

Kevin Mitnick's arrest (1995): Kevin Mitnick was a high profile hacker, who went on a hacking spree for 2 and a half years before finally being caught and sentenced to 5 years in prison. He is still one of the most famous hackers to this day, at one point hacking over 40 companies for a challenge.

ILOVEYOU computer worm (2000): The 'ILOVEYOU' worm, created by Onel De Guzman, spread like wildfire, infecting computers through people's emails with the subject line 'ILOVEYOU'. It caused $10 billion in damage before it was finally stopped in its tracks.

Gary McKinnon's hack (2001): Gary McKinnon hacked 97 US Military and Nasa computers. As you can imagine, this mass hack took the US by surprise and lead to major cyber security improvements within their systems.

Jason Smathers' big steal (2004): At the time, Jason Smathers was a staff member at AOL when he stole the details of 92 million customers and sold them on to spammers. This resulted in 7 billion spam emails and Smathers served prison time for his crime.


George Hotz (2007): Going by the alias 'geohot' George Hotz was the first person, ever, to carrier unlock the iPhone. This was a massive breakthrough and he has gained a large following since 2007, especially from hacking the Playstation 3 in 2010.

Mastercard and Visa hack (2012): More than 1.5 million customers had their credit card numbers stolen. Luckily, Cardholder names, addresses, and social security numbers were not taken. Although this did not take away from this mass hack

Hacking is still continuing to this day, take the latest 'Game of Thrones' episodes as examples. People are hacking in and releasing the episodes for all to see, but what do they get from that? Power trip, money? These questions will be answered soon enough when we sit down with an ethical hacker to get a true insight into why hackers do what they do.

TBG Security has been providing risk management solutions since 2003 to ensure your business is minimizing uncertainty in an increasingly hostile information environment.