Special thanks to Robert Morris

Submitted by Nick on Sat, 11/24/2018 - 08:47

Some say that Robert Tappan Morris, created a monster and unleashed the greatest evil in the world that we know today, the Morris Worm. On November 2, 1988 Morris was working on a graduate project at Cornell University and "inadvertently" shut down over 10% of the internet. There are conflicting viewpoints as to whether or not Morris' experiment was malicious. While he did build in code to slow the worms advance rate down, it wasn't enough, and it quickly got out of control. 

Some also say that if it wasn't Morris that released the worm, it would have been someone else. This thought is troubling, as Morris did everything that he could to stop the outbreak at the time. After realizing it was out of control, he made calls to get help rein in his project and put an end to it. If someone else had released this worm, the consequences could have been disastrous. Since Morris did not include any malicious payload, there was no real damage done other than some disruptions in internet connectivity. I shudder to think what could have been included at the time, had a true attacker had access to this technology and dropped a payload that could have caused massive irreversible damage. 

In this season of gratitude and thanksgiving, I would like to extend my thanks and my gratitude to Dr. Morris. I am thankful that it was him and his curiosity that gave us the field of cyber security. I am thankful that it was him that released the worm and not someone else. Most of all I am thankful that he continues to be a leading specialist in the field of Computer Science.