Computer security film from 1990 just as relevant today

AT&T archive film talks about the threats of 20 years ago, the same threats we have now

Anyone training an end user today about computer security would be well advised to add the following video to their syllabus - sure, it's a 1990 video from AT&T with some cheesy graphics and music, but all of the issues addressed in the video - computer hackers, leaving passwords on monitor screens, viruses, etc., are just as relevant today as they were when the video was made.

This 9-minute version has been strung together from a bunch of shorter films, originally made for the "annual Skytop conference of Bell Labs executives," AT&T says.

"They were intended to be a wake-up call regarding computer security issues, and present a realistic view of then-plausible security breaches, along with accompanying set of worst-case scenarios.

"The computer security team at Bell Labs at the time took pains to get their message across at this particular meeting, handing out computer security awareness swag — water bottles! key rings! — even distributing copies of 2600: A Hacker's Quarterly. The idea was that it was high time that the entire staff took the threats seriously.

"The cultural climate at this time reinforced this message. Parent company AT&T had recently suffered the effects of a software bug that the government originally believed was caused by a hacker. A few months later, Labs computer scientist Bill Cheswick set up a hacker honeypot to snag and study break-ins over the modems at the Labs. AT&T was a big, challenging target for hackers."

While the message is still relevant, it's still pretty amusing to see some of the older technology that people used back in the day, as well as some of the cheesy graphics and scary, ominous music that the video employed.

Read more of Keith Shaw's ITworld.TV blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Keith on Twitter at @shawkeith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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