Computer Security History

Instructor: Marcia Wert

Marcia has taught Information technology and Mathematics with a master's degree in IT

Discover how Computer Security came to be and its history. Can you imagine doing online shopping in a world that has no security? Our identities would be compromised!

Computer Security has evolved over the years. Let's look at a general overview of the history of computer security, including measures that have been taken to both compromise and maintain security to our present day.

Background Information on Computer Security


In 1932, Germany during pre-World War II used an encoding device called the Enigma. It sent encrypted messages to their troops. It was unlike any other encryption used before. The English with aid from mathematicians, Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rózycki, and Henryk Zygalski , were able to invent a primitive computer to crack and decipher the Enigma code. The importance of computer security can be highlighted in this one instance since it was a contributing factor to the demise of Germany in the war.


In 1964, AT&T begin to track what is called phone freaks or phreakers. It was a way to place phone calls for free by just using a particular note whistled into the ear piece. It confused the phone circuits, and they would not allow recording of the calling number. Hence, no bill was generated! A hacker called Captain Crunch was convicted of placing over 2000 free phone calls by confusing the network.

Apple Computers

In 1975, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak invented and released the first personal computer: the Apple I. Here is where computer security takes a giant leap. With the advent of personal computers came problems with hackers, people that want to steal personal information.

Data Encryption was born! Encryption is changing data so that it hard to decipher. Think of encryption like sending a secret message in which only you and the receiver have the ability to read it.


Xerox's Jon Hepps and John Shock invented the first worm to infect personal computers in 1982. A worm is a computer program that continues to replicate itself among computers. Unlike a virus that needs to attach itself to a program and became known in 1983, it is a standalone program. The replication can continue until it forces a system inoperative. Many viruses and worms continue to be released even today!


To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account