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Chapter 11. Security

Chapter 11. Security

The Internet evolved out of a project built for the U.S. Department of Defense. With such a security-minded parent, why in the world has it proven to be so full of security holes? The problem is precisely that it was built for security-minded scientists. Back in the late 1960s, these researchers were the only people who could access this new and very small network (known then as the ARPANET). They figured, “heck, if the only people who can log on are trusted like us government scientists, any built-in security would be redundant, right?” From that point on, we were in trouble.

The basic underlying architecture of the Internet (and personal computers, for that matter) assumes an “innocent-until-proven-guilty” stance. By default, all information on the Net is transferred in plain view for anyone to read or change, and direct computer-to-computer connections are made easily. No one thought to worry about security until it was too late. Early security precautions were usually just passwords. It wasn't until the widespread adoption of personal computers and modems in the 1980s that other measures, such as firewalls, were created.


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