A Little Hacking History

In today’s world it is common for the hacker to find flaws that can be exploited in software allowing access where there should be none. Those being found for the first time and not already known are rare but are called zero day because there is no defense against it until it is understood how it is done and therefor how to block that method.

Those that hack for bad (known as black hat), when getting a hold of such knowledge as unknown methods to access computers by weakness in code, will often sell the knowledge to others who will actually make use of it. It will compromise the security of the program, often leading to compromise of the computer.

Those that hack for good (known as white hat) seek to make software more secure. When they find a flaw it is normal to demonstrate the flaw, notify the company that makes the software of the problem and how it is accessed, and allow the company to secure the software before making the public aware of how it was done.

But what would you say to the knowledge that hacking has a history going back at least 100 years? Odd uh? No computers then.

During the days of the telegraph, companies had sunk goodly sums of money into undersea cables to transmit Morse code across the ocean. That’s right, the forerunner of modern day internet communication methods.

During this time, new technology threatened the old system. (this too should sound familiar with modern day equivalents) A gentleman by the name of Marconi was demonstrating the new wireless telegraph (which would become known as radio). He set up a demonstration with the Royal Institution to show his new invention.

Marconi had patents on the new invention and this proved to be problematic for another gentleman by the name of Nevil Maskelyne. Nevil was a stage show magician who did a mind reading routine. He used Morse code as a method of getting his assistant to tell him what he needed to know to preform during the show.

Nevil had other interests that got shut down by Marconi’s patents which were overly broad in nature. so Nevil decided to get even.

Just before Marconi’s demonstration, Nevil sent the message ‘rats’ multiple times followed by a slanderous message implying Marconi was screwing the public. It showed that Marconi could not follow through on his claim of being able to send private messages and left the witnessing audience with less than favorable impressions of Marconi’s demonstration.

The story goes on but it is here we stop. All of this occurred in the year 1903 giving hacking a century of history.

The complete article on this can be found at this link…


…and I had no idea that hacking started this early.

Posted in Thoughts.

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