The Morris Worm

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The Morris Worm changed the world of computer security at a time when it was merely an afterthought. In 1988, when the worm was released, system administrators were confronted with a cyber-attack that they never expected or saw before. Although the level of damage that was caused by the Morris Worm was caused by an out of control college student’s project, the individual responsible, Robert Morris, faced criminal charges. Robert Morris was a first year graduate student at Cornell in his first year of study when he created the worm to measure the size of the internet at that time. Until the release of the Morris Worm, the internet was scarcely protected, it resembled a small town where no one locks their doors without a worry of foul play.
On Nov 3, 1988, system administrators of government, university, and other prominent networks across the US experienced difficulty in controlling their computers that were connected to the internet. The computers struggled to keep up with the normal demands due to an unknown, not easily recognizable load. For those who logged into the internet, a system status listing appeared with anywhere from dozens to hundreds of command shell interpreters showed unusual activity. New processes were created faster than the others could be killed. The administrators had been attacked by the creation of a first year graduate student that changed the face of internet security all together.
The Morris Worm was one of the first attacks that were made against the relatively young world of the internet. Following the destruction caused by the malicious software created by Morris, more attention was given to internet security than had previously been the case. Originally, Morris ha...

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...bers across the country within a very short period of time. The US government investigators approximated the damage caused by the Morris Worm at between $10,000 and $10,000,000.

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