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Computer security is also referred to as cybersecurity. It is the protection of computer systems, networks, and data from unauthorized access, use, or destruction.

The concept of protecting computers from threats first emerged in the early 1970s. 

Bob Thomas, a computer scientist at BBN Technologies, is widely regarded as the father of this concept. His work on the “Creeper” program helped to raise awareness of the importance of cybersecurity and laid the foundation for the development of modern security technologies.

Let’s take a closer look at Bob Thomas’s contributions to cybersecurity and explore the history of the field.

Bob Thomas’s Contributions to Computer Security

Bob Thomas is a computer scientist who is widely regarded as the father of cybersecurity. He is best known for creating the first computer virus, called the “Creeper” virus, in 1971. 

However, Thomas’s contributions to cybersecurity go far beyond that. He was one of the pioneers in the field and developed some of the first security protocols.

In the 1970s, Thomas co-authored two seminal papers on computer security: “Protection in Operating Systems” and “A Hardware Architecture for Implementing Protection Rings.” 

These papers laid the foundation for modern computer security and helped to establish the field of cybersecurity.

Thomas’s work has had a profound impact on the cybersecurity industry. He is credited with helping to develop many of the security protocols and practices that are still in use today. These include access control, authentication, and encryption.

A Brief History of Computer Security

The history of cybersecurity dates back to the 1970s with the creation of the first computer virus. In 1971, Bob Thomas created the first computer virus, called Creeper. 

Creeper was a harmless program that would move across the ARPANET, leaving a message that said, “I’M THE CREEPER: CATCH ME IF YOU CAN.”

Thomas’s work on Creeper led to the development of the first antivirus software called Reaper. Ray Tomlinson, the inventor of email, wrote Reaper with the intention of tracking down and deleting Creeper.

Since the first standoff between Creeper and Reaper, cyber-attacks have become increasingly common, causing significant damage to individuals, businesses, and governments. As the use of computers and the internet has grown, so too has the need for cybersecurity professionals.

In the early days of computing, cybersecurity was primarily focused on protecting hardware and software from theft and damage. However, as the internet became more widely used, new threats emerged, such as malware, phishing attacks, and data breaches. These threats required the development of new cybersecurity solutions.

Today, the cybersecurity industry is thriving, with a wide range of companies offering products and services to help organizations protect themselves from cyber-attacks. Cybersecurity professionals are in high demand, and the field is constantly evolving to meet new challenges.

What’s the Purpose of Computer Security and Why is it Important?

As mentioned earlier, cybersecurity is the practice of protecting systems, networks, and data from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, etc. 

Having a computer security system is pivotal to protecting yourself, your business, or your organization from both internal and external attacks.

The purpose of cybersecurity is to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information.

  • Confidentiality means that information is only accessible to authorized individuals.
  • Integrity means that information is accurate and complete.
  • Availability means that information is accessible to authorized individuals when they need it.

A cybersecurity architecture is important because it’ll help safeguard your system against a wide range of cyber-attacks, including:

  • Malware – malicious software, such as viruses, worms, and Trojan horses, that can damage or disable computer systems and networks.
  • Phishing – attempts to trick users into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card numbers.
  • Denial-of-service (DoS) attacks – attempts to overwhelm computer systems or networks with traffic, making them unavailable to legitimate users.
  • Man-in-the-middle attacks – attacks that intercept communications between two parties and impersonate one of the parties to gain access to sensitive information.
  • Data breaches – unauthorized access to and theft of sensitive data.

Cybersecurity is the key player in the trustworthiness and uninterrupted operation of critical infrastructure like power grids, transportation networks, and healthcare systems. 

Any cyber attack targeting these vital systems could unleash grave repercussions, causing widespread service interruptions, substantial financial losses, or, in the worst-case scenario, posing a direct threat to human lives.

Types of Computer Security

Computer security can be broadly classified into five types. Let’s quickly review these variations:

Network security

This type is all about fortifying computer networks against unauthorized access, misuse, alterations, or disruptions. 

It involves deploying firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and virtual private networks (VPNs) to safeguard network traffic and ward off cyber attacks.

Application security

Application security focuses on protecting software applications from cyber threats by identifying and fixing vulnerabilities in the software code.

This aspect of computer security encompasses the practice of secure coding, conducting vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and leveraging web application firewalls to thwart attacks.

Information security

The core purpose of information security is to safeguard digital data from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, alterations, or destruction. 

Information security measures typically include implementing access controls, encryption, and robust data backup and recovery protocols to secure sensitive information.

Operational security

Operational security is primarily concerned with guarding against human errors, insider threats, and physical vulnerabilities to computer systems and networks. 

This facet involves the establishment of security policies and procedures, conducting employee training and awareness initiatives, and employing physical security measures like surveillance cameras and access controls.

Disaster recovery and business continuity

Disaster recovery and business continuity planning focus on ensuring that crucial business operations can continue running even in the face of a cyber-attack or other catastrophic events. 

It entails creating and testing plans for disaster recovery and business continuity, along with implementing backup and recovery procedures to ensure your critical systems and data are available with zero downtime.

Together, these five types of cybersecurity create a robust defense system that safeguards against unauthorized access, data breaches, system disruptions, as well as potential financial and operational losses.


In a world that is increasingly reliant on technology, the need for cybersecurity only grows. As our reliance on digital systems and networks grows, so does the need for protection against malevolent actors. 

The continuing legacy of visionaries like Bob Thomas continues to be critical in the ongoing effort to secure computer systems and networks, assuring the safety of our digital domains in an increasingly linked world.

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