This 1970 memo outlined every cybersecurity threat we face today

cyberscurity 1970 memo ware report screen shot 2016 04 18 at 8 00 50 am
Computer security isn’t a uniquely 21st century problem. Most of the weaknesses exploited today were outlined in a paper from 1970, long before computing became an everyday force in people’s lives.

The Ware Report, an 82 page document written by a team including computer science legend Willis Ware, was recently added to The National Security Archives at George Washington University. The document, declassified in 1975, outlined what were then largely theoretical weaknesses in networks. They’re all-too-real now.

Ars Technica IT editor Sean Gallagher argued today that most major hacks and attacks in the modern could have been prevented, if only the report’s lessons were taken seriously. Among the potential system weaknesses outlined are:

  • Exposure or destruction of data caused by system failure or administrative mistakes.
  • Attackers exploiting weaknesses in user credentials (ie, weak passwords) or software vulnerabilities (ie, exploits).
  • “Passive subversion”, collecting network traffic in bulk as it moves across the network, (eg., the NSA’s bulk collection of data).

From ransomware to phishing to the Sony hacks, most security problems we face today were outlined in this document, put together for the Department Of Defense as they contemplating building ARPAnet, the computer network that would eventually evolve into the Internet we know today.

“Providing satisfactory security controls in a computer system is in itself a system design problem,” wrote Ware in a memo summarizing his report. “A combination of hardware, software, communication, physical, personnel and administrative-procedural safeguards is required for comprehensive security. In particular, software safeguards alone are not sufficient.”

It was true then, and it’s now — cybersecurity is complicated, especially when a computer is connected to a worldwide network. No one tool can keep you secure. Firewalls and antivirus won’t protect someone from phishing, which exploits human nature to access a system. At the same time, a well-trained user can still end up infected if security patches aren’t fast enough. Security isn’t any one thing. It’s a combination of several, and every organization needs to take that seriously.

Ware and his co-authors didn’t precisely predict today’s state of cybersecurity, but the lessons he offered the Defense Department are still worth reading today.

Gaming

Fortnite V-Bucks being used by criminals for money laundering on dark web

Criminals are using Fortnite's V-Bucks for money laundering schemes on the dark web. Epic Games, apparently, is not doing enough to prevent the game from being used for the illegal activity.
Business

Apple banned from distributing some iPhone models in Germany

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Mobile

Android vs. iOS: Which smartphone platform is the best?

If you’re trying to choose a new phone and you’re not sure about the merits and pitfalls of the leading smartphone operating systems, then come on in for a detailed breakdown as we pit Android vs. iOS in various categories.
Computing

Getting Windows 10 updated doesn't have to be so painful

Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you step by step.
Computing

Watch out for these top-10 mistakes people make when buying a laptop

Buying a new laptop is exciting, but you need to watch your footing. There are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid and we're here to help. Check out these top-10 laptop buying mistakes and how to avoid them.
Computing

Don't spend a fortune on a PC. These are the best laptops under $300

Buying a laptop needn't mean spending a fortune. If you're just looking to browse the internet, answer emails, and watch Netflix, you can pick up a great laptop at a great price. These are the best laptops under $300.
Product Review

LG Gram 14 proves 2-in-1 laptops don’t need to sacrifice battery for light weight

The LG Gram 14 2-in-1 aims to be very light for a laptop that converts to a tablet. And it is. But it doesn’t skimp on the battery, and so it lasts a very long time on a charge.
Computing

Dell XPS 13 vs. Asus Zenbook 13: In battle of champions, who will be the victor?

The ZenBook 13 UX333 continues Asus's tradition of offering great budget-oriented 13-inch laptop offerings. Does this affordable machine offer enough value to compete with the excellent Dell XPS 13?
Gaming

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.
Computing

The Asus ZenBook 13 offers more value and performance than Apple's MacBook Air

The Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 is the latest in that company's excellent "budget" laptop line, and it looks and feels better than ever. How does it compare to Apple's latest MacBook Air?
Computing

AMD Radeon VII will support DLSS-like upscaling developed by Microsoft

AMD's Radeon VII has shown promise with early tests of an open DLSS-like technology developed by Microsoft called DirectML. It would provide similar upscale features, but none of the locks on hardware choice.
Computing

You could be gaming on AMD’s Navi graphics card before the end of the summer

If you're waiting for a new graphics card from AMD that doesn't cost $700, you may have to wait for Navi. But that card may not be far away, with new rumors suggesting we could see a July launch.
Computing

Is AMD's Navi back on track for 2019? Here's everything you need to know

With a reported launch in 2019, AMD is focusing on the mid-range market with its next-generation Navi GPU. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles, like Sony's PlayStation 5.
Computing

Cortana wants to be friends with Alexa and Google Assistant

Microsoft no longer wants to compete against Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant in the digital assistant space. Instead, it wants to transform Cortana into a skill that can be integrated into other digital assistants.