Nov 2, 2023

This digital "worm" highlighted some major vulnerabilities of the early internet...

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Good morning. Here’s what’s happening today in design: Apple Pencil now available to order; AI companion Dot designed by Apple alum; Commercial 'spaceplane' almost ready; Virtual Design Systems meetup in Stockholm Nov 14th; How and why Uber designs products; 100 years of Disney innovation; The design world can do better; Can someone explain 'brutalist' UI?; The art of visual design; Create sites that do the talking for you; Two-time design founder Brian Lovin confesses; Noisy gradient parallelograms; Liquidy smooth loader from OFF+BRAND.; Dot OS looks beautiful.

TODAY IN DESIGN 1988

Digital Pandemonium: The Morris Worm Outbreak.

On this date, the digital world faced its first significant cyber threat. A seemingly innocuous experiment by a young Cornell University graduate, Robert Tappan Morris, spiraled into chaos, unleashing the Morris worm, one of the first computer worms distributed via the internet.

The Morris worm wasn't designed to inflict damage but to gauge the size of the internet. However, due to a programming error, it replicated excessively, causing buffer overflows, slowing down systems, and rendering them unusable. An estimated 10% of the 60,000 computers connected to the internet at the time were affected, marking a pivotal moment in the history of cybersecurity design.

This incident underscored the vulnerability of networked systems and sparked a redesign of digital infrastructure security. It led to the formation of the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) and catalyzed the development of more robust network protocols and security measures. The Morris worm stands as a cautionary tale and a catalyst in the evolution of cybersecurity design.

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