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Interview: Peter Denning

By Infosecurity (­SA)

November 27, 2013

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Computer scientist and former Association for Computing Machinery president Peter Denning details in an interview how fundamental security principles compiled by computing innovators were lost with the advent of the PC era.

Denning notes that the interconnectivity of the modern environment was missing in the formative years of computing, and he points out that connectivity "just expands the problem" of data protection.

Denning maintains that security and protection were recognized from the very beginning as critical issues. He observes that by the time the PC revolution began, operating systems were quite large, and he cites an animosity against them by aspiring PC system pioneers "because they thought that it resulted in corporations blocking the small guy out of using computers." Denning says these pioneers therefore lacked historical knowledge of the security issues that an older generation of mainframe technologists dealt with, which effectively delayed addressing such issues for decades.

Still, Denning notes that these basic issues are being revisited, by the process of "resurrecting old knowledge and adapting it to the new world." Denning also points to the fact that it is security of the overall network, rather than the operating system, that now commands attention. "These issues transcend individual operating systems," he says.

From Infosecurity (USA)
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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