A brief history of hackers and hacking

brief history hacking
brief history hacking

Dernière mise à jour: 23 mai 2024

Today, we are going to learn a little about the history of hacking. why and how the hacker got there. I will not tell you about thecomplete history of haking, but I will focus only on the main phases of the development of this practice to understand where hackers come from and in which direction they are going.

What exactly is a hacker?

The term "hacker" first appeared in the 60s at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Students are nicknamed this after having disassembled and modified their models to improve performance.

The pioneers of hacking were therefore only motivated by one thing: experimentation. just a bunch of hackers looking for innovation.

Chronology of the hacking

In 1969,, John Draper discovers that a small whistle recovered in the boxes of cereal Cap'n Crunch, allows to obtain a certain tone of 2600 hertz. However, this tone is used on the AT&T telephone network to activate long distance lines. Nicknamed Captain Crunch, he whistles into the handset and make free calls throughout the country and even abroad. He will baptize this technique: the Phreaking.

Subsequently, phreaker clubs are formed and during meetings, they exchange all their tips and knowledge about their art.

In 1976,, the members of the phreakers club will subsequently modify and upgrade one of the first personal computers: the Alter 8800. Among them: Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, who will found the Apple company.

Steve wozniak and Steve jobs

In 1983,, the general public will discover the hackers. Kevin Poulsen, just 17, is breaking into ARPANet, the Internet's precursor network for the military, major universities and businesses. In the same year, a hackers movie “Wargames” presents the “fantasized” universe of hackers to the public. This feature film traces the adventures of a young hacker who gains access to the American military computer system and fails to start a global thermonuclear war.

With the development of the internet a shift is taking place towards cybercrime and hacker community splits. On the one hand, the “black hat”, with often criminal activities, and on the other, the “white hat” with no intention of harming and above all committed to making security breaches public.

In 1994,  Russian mathematician Vladimir Levin steals $ 10 million from Citybank, breaking into the international banking network SWIFT. He will be sentenced to three years in prison.

In 1995,, Kevin Mitnick is arrested by the FBI. On the run since 1989, he is notably accused of software theft and intrusion into protected systems. He will be sentenced to 5 years imprisonment.

The 6 geniuses of hacking

In 2001,, a Norwegian group called Masters of Reverse Engineering breaks the DVD copy protection key which allows the movies to be copied.

In 2008,, Conficker, the Most Powerful Malware in History, Appears. In January 2009, an estimated 15 million computers were infected with this worm worldwide. On February 13, 2009, Microsoft offered a $ 250.000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual behind the creation and / or distribution of Conficker.