Pretend you are on Jeopardy –

The year that the world’s first Cyber attack occurred.

What is 1834, Alex? (My small tribute to Alex Trebek).

1834 is correct.

In 1834, the Blanc brothers intercepted messages on the French telegraph (a mechanical line of sight system) to financially benefit from market information. The two brothers simply bribed and operator to intercepted the messages and inserted unnecessary characters in the message to encode a message with the proper message. Days later when the true and accurate information arrived by horse, the brothers were positioned to profit. For what its worth, the Blanc brothers were caught and put on trial, but there was not law that forbid tampering with transmitted data. (

Life has changed dramatically since 1834, but some things remain the same. Today, data is abundant and we rely on it for every day life. From financial data to maps, to fitness, to our refrigerators and vacuum cleaners, we rely on an interconnected network of data. Human nature hasn’t changed, but the opportunities to profit from elicit Cyber activities have grown exponentially. Cyber criminals have almost unlimited possibilities to exploit vulnerabilities. It seems everyday a new attack on data integrity, accessibility and confidentiality is in the news, to the point that some are desensitized. Do not let your guard down. Malicious Cyber actors are working everyday to determine the next opportunity to profit from unsecured systems.

The methods and the sophistication has changed but the motivations remains the same. The Blanc brothers saw the opportunity for a quick profit by manipulating a data in transit and they struck. Tom Standage of the Economist writes, ‘The tale of the Blanc brothers is also a reminder that with any new invention, people will always find a way to make malicious use of it. This is a timeless aspect of human nature, and is not something that technology can or should be expected to fix.’

Technology cant fix greed, but proper Cyber security can make it less likely for you to be the victim.