The Evolution of Cyber Threats

This article appeared in the Jan/Feb 2023 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.

In 1970 the first computer virus, a worm named “Creeper,” was created by Bob Thomas of BBN. Bob was not a hacker, and the virus was not created with malicious intent. This was an experimental computer program which displayed a playful message, purportedly named after a Scooby-Doo villain. The Creeper worm proved the theory that a functioning “virus” which replicates itself and spreads to other systems on a network, could be created. This is a lighthearted precursor to destructive modern viruses, which can encrypt your business/personal files and hold them for ransom, destroy your data, steal social security numbers, wage literal modern warfare, and more.

Fast forward to today, computer viruses have evolved to cause catastrophic damage — and are the bane of enterprise computing and business worldwide. Entire mafia-like networks of hackers work around the clock to extract money from honest people running businesses.

Some of the best (worst) examples of monetary damages to business include:

  • Mydoom — $38 billion (2004)
  • Sobig — $30 billion (2003)
  • Klez — $19.8 billion (2001)
  • ILOVEYOU — $15 billion (2000)
  • WannaCry — $4 billion (2017)
  • Zeus — $3 billion (2007)
  • Code Red — $2.4 billion (2001)
  • Slammer — $1.2 billion (2003)
Behind the Curve

Unfortunately, most businesses succumb to these threats because they are behind the curve on cyber-security. For a comparison, take a look at how the automobile has advanced over time. When cars became popular around 1920-1960, the rate of auto-deaths doubled. In 1949, Nash was the first American car manufacturer to offer seat belts as a factory option. They were installed in 40,000 cars but buyers did not want them — and even requested dealers to remove them. Even by the 1960s, most Americans did not use them, and over 65 percent opposed them being enforced by law.

This is eerily similar to the trend of enterprise businesses being late to the cyber-security party. We see it on the news time and time again — “Company A” had no budget for cybersecurity, Ransomware hits, folks are fired, and then suddenly there is a $10 million dollar budget available for security. Maybe it is just human nature to put these scary facts off until they hit home and affect the individuals.

Modern Cyber Security Landscape

The modern cyber security framework has changed immensely, traditional antivirus is just not enough to keep threats at bay. The graphic below demonstrates all the areas that need parts and pieces that must work together in order to keep a modern network safe.

All of your network’s components must work together to keep it secure.

Behind all these areas, there are technologies, people and processes that work together to provide a comprehensive security program. You could always be doing more but at a minimum — you need to make sure you are doing enough. As the saying goes, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time is now. Cyber threats are always evolving, stay on top of your game and prevent yourself from becoming another unfortunate statistic!

About the Author

Jake AllenJake Allen, Solutions Engineer has been with IT Resource for six years and works close with IT Resource clients to make sure their processes and needs are met every time. He may be reached at

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