Skip to 0 minutes and 14 secondsHi, I'm James and I'll be your guide as we take a look at the development of computer systems within cyber security. We'll begin by taking a look at how computer systems have evolved since their invention and explain how this evolution is related to advances in threats to system security. We look at five different generations of computer systems and the capabilities of each technology. The invention of the first ever electronic computer system dates back to 1937 when J.V. Atanasoff built a non programmable machine that solved partial differential equations. The first generation of computers was developed from this system. These basic machines used vacuum tubes and low-level programming and were so huge they occupied an entire room.
Skip to 0 minutes and 50 secondsSince then other non-program machines using the same technology were developed by researchers, Colossus being the most mountable. This machine was used by Alan Turing in 1943 to break the Enigma code, an encoded message system that was declared unbreakable by the German army during World War 2. We could say that the breaking of the Enigma code was one of the early cases where the security of data sent through a first generation computer system was compromised. In 1945 remarkable progress was made as the first programmable machine ENIAC, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer was constructed by J.P. Eckert and J.W. Mauchly.
Skip to 1 minute and 28 secondsThis system was quickly followed by the development of the first commercially successful system in 1952, the UNIVAC, the Universal Automatic Computer was system used for business and administration purposes. The launch of this system closed the era of first generation computing in a promising way.
Skip to 1 minute and 47 secondsThe second generation of computers begins around 1956 and coincides with the introduction of many high-level programming languages like Fortran, Algol and Cobol. Along with these languages the use of new hardware technology, like transistors enable this generation to evolve as more powerful, faster, and less bulky commercial machines were built. During this era IBM released the successful 7090 series that supported IO devices and incorporated other features like overlapping memory operations and primitive forms of parallel processing. Machines of this generation such as the LARC, the Livemore Atomic Research Computer and the IBM 7030, also known as Stretch, took full advantage of these features.
Skip to 2 minutes and 27 secondsAlthough this generation of computers have great computational power and capabilities, its security was not seriously considered as these machines were not widely spread and were not connected to a universal network that could initiate malicious attacks against the machines.
Skip to 2 minutes and 43 secondsIn 1964 we enter the third generation of computing with the introduction of integrated circuit technology. The increased computational power of this generation of systems also enable them to perform with functional parallelism. This era produced even smaller, cheaper and more efficient machines. And this is when the first parallel processing machines like the IBM 360-105, Solomon and the CDC 7600 were developed. Other notable developments during this generation of computing include the introduction of the first networked, and operating systems, ARPANET in 1967, and Unix in 1970. As the use of these computer systems increased, the need for effective security implementation also became apparent.
Skip to 3 minutes and 22 secondsHowever, even though these machines were connected to a worldwide network like ARPANET, no significant security issues were reported back then, as this network was mainly used for academic or military purposes and didn't grant access to the public which limited the deployment of security attacks.
Skip to 3 minutes and 41 secondsIn 1972 with the development of the LSI and VLSI micro-processors, that is Large-Scale Integration and Very Large-Scale Integration, the fourth generation of computer systems came about. In general the characteristics of this generation are small-sized portable machines, increased processing power, large storage capacity and memory and operating systems the uses a GUI or Graphical User Interface. Altair, introduced in 1975 is a typical example of a fourth generation machine. It had an Intel 8080 processor and was the first use of a micro-processor in computing. Around the same time IBM released the IBM PC which signified that computer companies were beginning to build their computers based on the consumers needs and we're geared less towards advanced computer users.
Skip to 4 minutes and 25 secondsThe creation of the World Wide Web in 1990 helped push computing in this direction as personal computers began to connect to a global network and exchange basic information like emails. During the 80s and 90s different operating systems were developed in order to make personal computers friendlier for users. By 1984 and 1989 respectively Apple and Microsoft had released their Macintosh and Windows operating systems. Back then Macintosh was the first ever operating system designed with the user-friendly GUI and Windows was exclusively running on the IBM PCs both of which have managed to become the most prominently used operating systems in the world today. Other operating systems like Linux were introduced in 2004 contributing to the proliferation of this generation of machines.
Skip to 5 minutes and 10 secondsThis widespread use of this fourth generation of machines and the expansion of the web also increased security concerns. Systems and security engineers had to introduce approaches to secure the developed systems the gain system failure. These weaknesses are usually attributed to poor system design and programming errors but a made worse cheeps the connectivity of these machines to the Internet. Engineers try to protect machines, their data and their users, from different types of cyberattacks, such as online hacking and social engineering using techniques like cryptography and access control mechanisms.
Skip to 5 minutes and 44 secondsThe fifth generation of computer systems is expected to change the world that we know today and will be based on the incorporation of multiprocessor systems and artificial intelligence. These systems aim to solve highly complex problems by allowing decision-making and logical reasoning. The first five atom quantum computer created in 2006 by scientists MIT is an example of such a system. It has the potential to crack the security of traditional encryption schemes. Of course the use of such an advanced technology would massively affect the security of existing and future computer systems. Therefore, new techniques will need to be considered in order to ensure system security and safety.
Skip to 6 minutes and 19 secondsFailing to ensure these requirements could result in disastrous situations where very sensitive information or data, or even human life could be lost.
System development: a historical journey
This video presents some of the most important facts in the history of computer systems and illustrates some of the most significant cases of security and safety failures.
It discusses the different reasons that have led to these failures and also how these contributed to the evolution of computer design and development approaches.
Having watched the video, and by reflecting on your own knowledge, what are the critical points (ie inventions, applications, etc) that contributed to the evolution of computer systems and also resulted in the necessity of having more efficient design and development processes?
Also, what would be the ideal security and safety profile of a more secure and resilient system?
Share your thoughts with your peers and discuss what they have to say.