History> History Of Threats

In its simplest form, the overall threat is: Theft of information...any information...all information...for use by those whom you may or may not know and whom may or may not use that stolen information against -you-.

In the early days of the internet as we know it, many were unaware of the plethora of security threats. Passwords were sent in plain text, encryption was not the norm, and anyone smart enough to be able to intercept your connection could literally know every single click or keystroke you made. The lure of intimacy while being alone in front of your monitor was intoxicating. Little did anyone know how truly vulnerable they were.

During the 'Wild West' era of internet expansion, the 1990's, many were horrified to learn of a little known item called _NSAKEY. This came at a time when the world was moving away from Windows 95/98 to Windows XP. With Windows XP being based on the more stable Windows NT architecture, the revelation of the _NSAKEY carried more weight, but only to those who truly understood what it indicated, even if there was never any further bonafide proof of the backdoor access.

Then September 11, 2001 happened. With passage of the Patriot Act, everything changed.

Like many people, our Government was not prepared to contend with those already ahead of the curve regarding security. Though many Government programs existed to monitor information on the public, those were not created with the digital age in mind.

In the early 2000's, Microsoft faced a lawsuit regarding 'middleware', or layers of their Operating Systems which were at-the-time only for Microsoft's use. Once settled, the rise of the 'rootkit' based viruses began. What was once a protected area by Microsoft, for good reason, was available to those who previously did not have access.

Middleware, in simple terms, works between your software application and hardware, many times hidden from both the application you are using and anti-virus software. With the Windows NT-based Operating Systems from Windows 2000 to XP/Vista/7/8/10, 'Services' operated in the background. This is where 'Middleware' rose to prominence and to this day is exploited with 'rootkit' viruses.

While many did not want to be vulnerable to threats, the uses of 'rootkit' based malware had at least some form of public support when it benefitted those who wanted to spy on a cheating spouse.




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