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Hacks have been around for almost as long as computing and they have evolved with it throughout its history, to such an extent that it would have been impossible for the first hackers to imagine the scope that computing would have in our century and the form that hacks would take in this context.
As knowing the past is one of the best ways to understand the present, we are going to take a brief tour of the history of hacks, from its origins at MIT to the present.
The 60s` - Hack to learn
History tells us that the first hacks occurred in the 1960s`and were carried out by computer science students at MIT. In this decade, computer equipment occupied entire rooms that had to be air-conditioned to allow it to function properly.
Its rent was extraordinarily expensive and was only available to large companies and institutions, so several MIT students decided to find programming shortcuts to access these equipment and perform certain tasks more quickly.
One of these programming shortcuts, or 'hacks' as they called them, was created by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson, and had a historical relevance that even today is difficult for us to grasp. You probably know it by its trade name: UNIX.
The 70s` - The first computer newsletter
During the 70's, the first network structures were created that allowed a proto-hacker community emerged, essentially made up of fans of the networks and casual hackers.
To give you an idea of what a hack was at this time, it is considered that one of the first hacks in history was discovered by a Vietnam veteran named John Draper who discovered how to make free calls taking advantage of a bug in the phone lines.
These types of rather innocuous activities had the first computer newsletter to share them in 1978, created by Randy Seuss and Ward Christiansen in Chicago and founder of the concept of internet forums.
The 80s - The rise of IBM
In the 1980s, long before the rise of Microsoft and Apple, IBM was the hottest computer company. IBM was in charge of putting a terminal in each of the major companies in the United States, Europe and Japan.
From a million computers in existence in 1980, it rose to 30 million in 1986, and suddenly networks allowed the emergence of hackers as we know them today, that is, as groups of people dedicated to illegally accessing other people's computer equipment and stealing their data or disrupting its operation.
At the end of the decade, groups like 414 or like LOD and MOD - protagonists of the first ‘hacker war’ - broke into the teams of numerous laboratories, research centers, and even the teams of the rival group. Much of its activity extended over the next decade.
The 90s - The popularization of the internet
During the 90s the groups were dismantled LOD and MOD –Legion of Doom and Masters of Deception–, but many other groups of hackers emerged that continued in their footsteps.
If in the 1980s IBM had put a computer in every company, in the 90 Microsoft put one in every home, something that seemed unthinkable just a decade earlier.
The first professional crackers emerged and the pages of pirated applications multiplied, such as the Spanish one Long live the Ham and the Wine, what was leader in the field of Spanish-speaking piracy and that he even gained popular sympathy by carrying out various DDoS attacks against the ETA and Herri Batasuna platforms in response to several of their kidnappings and attacks.
The 2000s and today - BOTS and Artificial Intelligence
Since the 2000s, the number of hackers continues to multiply as computing continues to spread to all areas of our lives. We went from having a computer in each house to having countless laptops, tablets, smartphones and IoT gadgets.
Hacks expose intimate photos of celebrities, loot the accounts of investment platforms or hijack files from half the world through ransomware.
With the normalization of perpetual internet access, basic protection tools such as VPNs, password managers and antimalware tools become popular.
Nowadays, we are heading into an era where both hacks and cybersecurity measures will be dominated by artificial intelligenceSo now you know: in such a changing environment, remember to always keep your operating system updated ...