Introduction - Looking at the Past to Prepare for the Future

Computer security is a necessary evil.  Think how much simpler our lives would be if everyone could be trustworthy - you wouldn't have to remember long complicated passwords, or worry about making sure your antivirus and security patches are up to date on your computer.  Unfortunately the fact of the matter is that not everyone can be trusted, and there are some out there who have malicious intentions as well as the capability to leverage those intentions.

To understand where we are going, first we need to understand where we have been, and why we are where we are today.  Technology is always evolving.  Sometimes with this evolution, new security flaws are created as systems become more complex.  In these following pages I will attempt to remain as non-technical as possible, providing the reader an overview of the issues without boring them to death with the technical details.  I will always include reference material where the reader can obtain additional technical information if they so desire.

I have personally been involved with some of the "evolution of computing security", and when possible will happily share my personal experiences.  Hopefully I can have others who have been involved share their experiences as well.  It really has been a long, crazy trip.  But before we can get to some personal accounts, we'll need to turn the clock back to far before the computing age, in order to understand that some issues, such as confidentiality of transmitted messages, have been a problem long before the first computer was ever built.