Is there anything in our everyday lives that has proven to be more powerful than the internet? Computers have affected human life in various ways; in fact, take a moment and ask yourself, how many hours a day do I spend in front of a computer? In a time where technology acts as the glue holding our everyday lives together, it would be sensible to ask the question: Does the Internet invade our privacy too much? It is not uncommon to see a son or daughter, keep in touch with his or her parent whom is deployed across the ocean. You can see the world just with the one click of a button, and it’s no secret how technology has become a priority in many education systems across the world. Technological advancements have made communication easier but by doing so have also put our everyday lives at more risk. What exactly is Information Technology (IT) security? If we have a network of computers across the world connected by the internet how do we go about protecting ourselves? You’ve heard about viruses but what is a back door intrusion? The more we have become accustomed to being online the wiser we have become towards very basic malicious attacks but unfortunately there are victims every day that go unreported. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in today’s world with all the vulnerabilities facing us.
When I became a member of the Vermont Air National Guard, I enlisted in Information Assurance, a career field that is estimated to grow by 30% by the year 2020. It is widely expected cyber-attacks can and will become a weapon of choice in future conflicts. When you think about the possibilities for intrusions it is easy to see why. There are a number of different risks associated with different platforms. Many people are storing their information on cloud computing. Smartphones are becoming more and more like pocket computers, and it would be worthy to mention physical security aspects when talking about external hard drives.
When the internet first came about it was a simple tool used for networking. It’s safe to say the more powerful technology became, the more dangerous it was. How did it become so popular and become an everyday part of our lives? Let’s take a look back to where it all started.
Master Sergeant (MSgt) James Peterson, the network manager for the 158th Fighter Wing since 2007, shared his knowledge on early days of the network called Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). ARPANET being what we now know as the Internet.
“Essentially the internet was a project that started on a napkin. It was an idea used for sharing information between educational and military personnel, users who only had access to the .edu and .mil domains. You could literally map out the layout of the network on a piece of paper. Since it was so small there wasn’t much any concern of security. What really helped it take off was the implementation of the Interface Message Processor (IMP). What we now know as a router. The IMP helped internet traffic. As traffic became more sophisticated, computers became more and more connected. It wasn’t until it became commercialized where there became a risk factor.” (Peterson).
When the internet became commercialized in 1991 through the National Science Foundation (NSF) it quickly became a hit. In fact, it was such a phenomenon, that in 1995 the internet became a self-funding industry. The more computers that were connected, the bigger the network became. So how did they go about protecting information online in the early days? The answer is encryption. The introduction of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) by Phillip Zimmerman was groundbreaking in cyberspace. Shortly after its release, PGP encryption found its way to online bulletin boards throughout the Bay Area and soon outside the United States. In February 1993 Zimmermann became the formal target of a criminal investigation by the US Government for "munitions export without a license". Simply put