New Book in Progress - The Cyber Game: Redefining the World of Information Security

Today I've started a new project. This long-term project will be my own book on Information Security, its origins, basics, and how we can redefine the approach to today's InfoSec problems.

As a teaser, below is the introduction to this great new project!


While most attribute the Morris Worm of 1988 as the first “cyber attack”, the history of Information Security goes back much further.

In 1903, a physicist named John Ambrose Fleming was preparing to demonstrate to the Royal Institution in London a “secure” wireless telegraph system developed by Italian radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi. This system was designed to transmit over 300 miles, and Marconi claimed he could “tune [his] instruments so that no other instrument that is not similarly tuned can tap [his] messages”. The “tuning” of course was based upon the same radio frequency principles which allow modern-day radio waves to transmit music to your car stereo.

Shortly before Marconi transmitted his message from Cornwall approximately 300 miles away, another signal was received by the equipment being set up by Fleming. This transmission was strong that it caused the projection lamp to flicker as a message was sent in Morse Code. At first the message was only one word repeated, “RATS”. The message eventually evolved into numerous insults directed towards Marconi, effectively accusing him of tricking the audience into thinking the system was secure.

Several days later, it was revealed that the Eastern Telegraph Company had hired a magician named Nevil Maskelyne to reveal the security holes in Marconi’s system, not only for the public good, but to protect the wired telegraph industry from the potential impact on their business.

Marconi’s system was indeed far from secure. The wireless telegraph transmitted and received without any authentication or encryption, allowing third parties to intercept and interfere with transmissions. The biggest flaw in Marconi’s approach was that he never accounted for the fact that an attacker could use an untuned broadband receiver or transmitter to interfere with his frequency tuned equipment.

Today’s information systems, much like Marconi’s wireless telegraph, must “expect the unexpected” in order to be secure from attack. With cyber crime costing worldwide approximately $445 billion per year, information security simply cannot be ignored.

Marks, Paul. "Dot-dash-diss: The Gentleman Hacker's 1903 Lulz." NewScientist. 27 Dec. 2011. Web. 10 Jan. 2015. <>.

"The History of Cyber Attacks - a Timeline." NATO Review Magazine. Web. 10 Jan. 2015. <>.

Sandle, Paul. "Cyber Crime Costs Global Economy $445 Billion a Year: Report." Reuters. Ed. Pravin Char. Thomson Reuters, 9 June 2014. Web. 10 Jan. 2015. <>.

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