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The Creation Of The First Worm

The Fifteen Greatest Hacking Exploits
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Hackers have been fond not only of intruding into networks; they also contributed to the creation of the first Internet worms. The concept of a worm is a bit different from that of classic hacking, but it goes back to the same principles: instead of getting into a network themselves, they send a small program they have coded to do the job. It is from this concept that Robert Tappan Morris, today a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), created the first Internet worm.

Once again, it was curiosity that drove Morris to create this worm. According to him, the main purpose of this program was to probe the Internet to estimate its size, that is, know the number of computers connected. At that time the Internet only connected a few machines, and the scope did not seem daunting for this little piece of code. However, Morris neglected a parameter when creating his worm, causing a lot more damage than he had anticipated.

A More Dangerous Worm than Initially Foreseen

The Morris worm, which was sent from computers at MIT, was programmed to probe a computer and copy itself into the system if the machine was not already infected. The problem started when he imagined some system administrators might have the idea of circumventing the menace of this worm, by making it believe the machine was already infected when in fact it was not. Therefore, he modified his code to force a copy to be stored each time the worm accessed a computer, regardless of its infection status.

This caused the worm to spread like wildfire, infecting several thousand machines in a few hours. It was estimated that fixing each infected system cost between $200 and $53,000, depending on the machine. The worm mobilized different programmer teams to stop it, and it took several days for the attack to be neutralized.

Robert Tappan Morris was found guilty of computer fraud, and was sentenced to three years' probation, 400 hours of community service and a fine of $10,050.

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  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 4, 2008 7:27 AM
    They should have very serious consequences for hackers. I'm tired of defaced websites, viruses, trojans, etc. Although it is fun to screw around with other people's computers..especially if they've done it to you...but either way there should be some huge penalties for hacking. I say chop off a thumb on the first offence. 2nd offence: chope off the rest of the fingers on that hand. Hackers along with script kiddies would cease to exist.
  • 3 Hide
    itadakimasu , September 12, 2008 7:20 PM
    sounds like you have been the victim of malware and virii while doing some questionable internet browsing...
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 16, 2008 4:41 AM
    Well, 'Anonymous', I hope you're using Tor to browse the 'intarweb', you worthless plebian.
    Here in the USA, we aren't barbarians, and the only people who would even deserve such harsh treatment would be rapists and their ilk. Even so, we just lock em up and release them on probation a few months/years later. :p 
    Not perfect, but I say cutting off fingers because you're too stupid to take basic steps to protect your system? Kinda harsh.
    The difference between a robber and a hacker, is that you can completely stop a hacker by unplugging your phone line from your modem.
    Do that, for the sake of humanity. :p 
  • 0 Hide
    arkadi , September 18, 2008 1:27 PM
    Well it is important info, but i don't think you can call them the best :)  they got basted after all. Governments got best hackers if you ask me.
  • 0 Hide
    Reynod , September 18, 2008 1:39 PM
    There are numerous other well documented hacks that probably deserved a mention.

    At least you did take the moral high ground.

    You neglected to mention Electron and Phoenix ... clearly they were better than most of these mentioned here.



  • 2 Hide
    deadliest , October 17, 2008 10:44 AM
    hmmm so this hacker list is not complete oh oh oh , you should have guys, it was most interesting reading about this. But i think hackers are a necessary evil without them how would i play my pirated games :D 
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 13, 2010 11:03 PM
    @ Arkadi
    "Well it is important info, but i don't think you can call them the best :)  they got basted after all. Governments got best hackers if you ask me. "

    Lol, where do you think the Government found there hackers? They hired guys like this ^^Rofl
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 27, 2011 9:12 AM
    Script kiddies. Blegh.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 13, 2011 8:58 AM
    ahhhhhh
    its good to be a hacker
  • 0 Hide
    jordanprogrammer , October 8, 2013 9:19 AM
    the best website for programming language:
    www.jordanprogrammer.tk