I find it so ironic that government computers are being hacked, especially the NSA. Wasn't the internet invented for the DOD to transfer secure information, or am I forgetting something?
Not necessarily forgetting, but perhaps jumping from the facts to an erroneous conclusion. ARPANet, the progenitor of the internet, was a collaboration between DoD, academia, and the defense industry to share
information among themselves and was by intention and design free of anything the might inhibit that sharing. Its primary goals were speed, reliability and accuracy of communication. Security, in the sense you are using it, was far down the list of requirements, if it existed at all. Even when ARPANet began morphing into its open to the public form, security per se
was not a particular consideration. Yeah, we had to tolerate the occasional prankster but we were all people of "good intention" and tolerating the prankster was preferable to inhibiting the exchange of ideas. In truth, because most records and critical documents were still relegated to paper there was little or no financial incentive to snoop on the internet.
Just to put security into perspective, 40 years ago I worked for a major DoD contractor, Texas Instruments. At that time, according to IBM, TI had the largest computing center IBM had ever assembled. It occupied an entire wing of a several hundred thousand square foot building/campus in Dallas, Texas and was duplicated 30 miles away in Lewisville. Long before the days of Email or the internet, TI's in house network spanned the globe and every software engineer as well as a majority of hardware engineers, managers, etc. had electronic messaging and information sharing at their fingertips. When security was discussed it had only one meaning, Protecting the data center from physical damage from sabotage or natural disaster. That included redundant power sources and backup power generators and redundant air conditioning systems all within the secure area. Access into and out of the area controlled by badges, voice recognition, sensitive scales in the floor of the entry passage and no packages, briefcases, purses, or clothing from outside allowed inside the secure area. Likewise no physical packages were allowed to leave the data center except under the strictest supervision.Data security
, was barely mentioned. Instead TI, and IBM, relied on the sheer volume of data in the system to render attempts to access anything valuable a fruitless exercise. The senior Research Fellows and Project managers at TI often had ARPANet and Autovon
but when classified data needed to be exchanged it traveled by courier. Today the Mac mini sitting on my desk probably has more computing power, memory, and online storage than that massive computer center had. Given internet access to the center of that day, I could easily data-mine everything that was in that system.
So yes DoD was a participant in creating ARPANet/Internet, but electronic data and information security has only recently become an issue.