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Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security

Lessons From The History of Computer Security

Bob Abbott - Consultant

Oct 23, 2002


Mr. Abbott will give a contemporary view of the History of Computer
Security. Security has been associated with computing since the
days of Pascal, Boole, and Turin. Computer Security has been shaped
by constantly advancing computer technology that provides an
ever-changing playground for the Wily Hacker. Provided with new
ways to commit computer related crime, fraud, and abuse, Mr. Hacker
repeatedly challenges laws, regulations, and requirements. In turn,
the justice system is sometimes forced to apply inadequate or even
antiquated laws to a given instance of Hacker abuse. But then, the
whole cycle starts over again!

Someone has said that an ignorance of history dooms mankind to
repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Were lessons
learned in the early days of Computer Security that have been
forgotten today? Mr. Abbott will examine this question as well as
the interplay of technology, Hacker, and courts in the period from
1970 to 1980.

About the Speaker

Mr. Abbott is an early pioneer in Computing and Computer Security.
His initial employment was producing application software for the
5th UNIVAC I - the 1st mass-produced, general purpose, computer. His
programming and system design efforts culminated in the design and
implementation of the 1st multi-user, multi-tasking Operating System
(O/S) to go into 24x7x365 use. This O/S, later renamed LTSS
(Livermore Time Sharing System), ran for over 30 years on Cray class
computers in a number of different scientific research centers.

His knowledge of the internal workings of operating systems made him a likely
candidate for Principal Investigator of a research program to
investigate the security properties of the operating systems of the mid-to-late
1970s. This DARPA1 funded research effort was code named \"The RISOS
(Research in Secured Operating Systems) Project\". When The RISOS
Project ended, Mr. Abbott founded one of the 1st consulting
companies to offer its clients IT Security reviews, Risk &
Vulnerability Assessments, and enterprise wide IT Security Planning.
He has maintained a private practice in IT Security for the past 10
years. He is the 2002 recipient of the FitzGerald Award for his
lifelong, and continuing, contributions to the field of IT Security.

Unless otherwise noted, the security seminar is held on Wednesdays at 4:30P.M. STEW G52 (Suite 050B), West Lafayette Campus. More information...


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