The advent of the World Wide Web has changed the way we live our lives. From staying connected with friends and family to researching and purchasing goods, our lives are becoming more digital by the day. But the digital world is not new. From the very inception of the Internet in the 1960s, it has evolved by leaps and bounds. If you thought the Internet was just a modern phenomenon, let us take you back to the early ’90s and show you how wrong you are.
Even though the Internet has existed for almost half a century, it has only truly evolved in the last few years. In this article, we’ll explore the history of the Internet, and look at how it’s changed over time.
The Commercialization of the Internet
In the later part of the 1960s and into the ’70s, the commercialization of the Internet began in earnest. Most notably, in 1969, ITT Corporation created the first commercial Internet service in the United States. In the same year, France’s national telephone company, France Télécom, commercially launched the first Internet service in Europe.
An emerging technology, IT had been selected to connect the newly inaugurated Trans-Atlantic telephone cable, which had been laid between 1982 and 1986. This was the first permanent trans-Atlantic communication link.
In 1972, the first email was sent via the Internet, between two researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Although it was just 2,636 bytes long, it was the start of something big.
That same year, the American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) announced that they would begin providing Internet services in the United States in 1983. This provided the first wide-scale commercial Internet service.
In 1973, the United Nations (UN) transferred its email system to the newly created UN Internet domain, uni.org. The first website on the Internet was created in 1973, at the University of Sussex in England.
The Rise of the Web 1.0
In the early 1980s, the first generation of the World Wide Web was born. It consisted of mostly text documents with images embedded in them. It was designed to be used with a command-line interface (CLI) with a programming language such as Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) or File Transfer Protocol (FTP).
In 1983, Tim Berners-Lee, a researcher at CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland, developed the first web server to provide a website for The Information Machine. The first website on the World Wide Web was a simple page that contained a link to the page where the web server lived.
In the same year, Berners-Lee also developed the first web browser, and published a document describing the new hypertext system he had invented. This was the first time that the public was able to view websites on the Internet.
In the following years, the first versions of HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) were developed. HTML allowed website creators to create complex pages and link them together with links.
In 1985, CERN also developed the first web server to provide websites in the form of HTML. This opened the floodgates for thousands of websites to be created and shared online.
By the end of the 1980s, the first web hosting companies started to appear, providing Website Hosting and Domains with web hosting. Companies such as America Online (AOL), CompuServe, and Prodigy offered free web hosting, with the first websites on the Internet being created on their servers.
The Web Goes 3.0
In the early 2000s, the first website spammers were prosecuted in the United States. In 2001, the first United States Federal Court case was filed against spammers, and a verdict was reached that resulted in the prosecution of 123 defendants—112 of whom were sentenced to jail time.
In 2002, a new wave of botnets were created, which were used for DDoS attacks. These botnets were also used for mining cryptocurrencies. The botnets used a new type of attack known as a cross-site request forgery (CSRF).
In 2003, a new wave of spam was directed at organizations that housed websites with a .gov extension. The spam contained links to websites that would try to steal the users’ sensitive information.
In 2004, the first spam email with computer malware was reported. The malware was hidden in an image file and could only be viewed if the user tried to view the image in a certain way.
The Rise of Cloud Computing
In 2013, the first cloud-computing attack occurred. The attacker used cloud-computing resources to power their malware. The malware was disguised as an update for the video game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO).
In the same year, the first data breach due to cloud-computing services occurred. The data breach was discovered when Samsung’s cloud-computing platform was breached, resulting in the leakage of personal data for more than 1.5 million users.
In 2014, a new type of DDoS attack was discovered, which was based on the popularity of certain websites. The attack used a method called reflection, where the attacker sends requests to resources that the website owner has access to.
This led to the first prosecution of a DDoS-for-hire attack in the United States. In 2015, the first instance of a blockchain data breach occurred, when a hacker stole cryptocurrencies by accessing a digital wallet that they had stored on a cloud-computing platform.