What an 1834 hack of the French telegraph system can teach us about modern-day network security.

The World’s First Cyberattack Happened in 1834. What Can We Learn From It?

The World’s First Cyberattack Happened in 1834. What Can We Learn From It?

What tech’s past tells us about tomorrow
Oct. 3 2018 6:00 AM

Human Insecurity

The French telegraph system was hacked in 1834. What does the incident teach us about modern-day network security?

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The French telegraph system was hacked in 1834 by a pair of thieves who stole financial market information—effectively conducting the world’s first cyberattack. What does the incident teach us about network vulnerabilities, human weakness, and modern-day security? Guests include: Bruce Schneier, security expert.*

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Podcast production by Bart Warshaw and Kate Holland.

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*Correction, Oct. 3, 2018: Due to an editing error, this page originally misidentified Bruce Schneier as a famed hacker.

Tom Standage is deputy editor of the Economist. He studied engineering and computer science at Oxford University and has written for other publications including the New York Times, the Guardian, and Wired.

Seth Stevenson is a senior writer at Slate, where he’s been a contributor since 1997. He is the author of Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World.