Chapter 1, From Mainframe to Client/Server to World Wide Web
This lesson presents some background material from chapter 1.
Objectives important to this lesson:
Shifts in technology
WWW so far
text begins with a very basic start, reminding us that data is raw
information and that it needs to be processed to become
information. Processing may take place on a computer, or in the
mind of an analyst, but it is still processing. In order for a
computer to help us with anything, a human had to figure out what
needed to be done, either by the human or by the device. The text
offers us some history about the invention of calculating
devices, Many of you will not have heard of John Napier, Wilhelm Schickard, or Blaise Pascal. They made some wonderful
progress in the first half of the 17th century in making devices
that aided in calculation. Follow this link to the Computer History Museum and browse some of
the devices in their discussion of the subject.
The object shown on the left
is a realization of Schickard's machine, made from his surviving
plans. The object in the image on the right
is a pascaline, one of the actual devices that Pascal created,
invented for his father who was a tax collector.
A more "recent" contribution to computing was the invention of
the Jacquard loom, a weaver's device that could produce
identical pieces by using patterns saved on punched cards. The
cards, essentially, held programs for the loom. That was invented
in 1801 by Mr. Jacquard, but he did not create it all by
himself. The book barely mentions it, but this video by James
Burke, a part of his TV series called Connections,
gives you more information as well as a some quick references to
other precursor technologies that Burke talked about in his
program, technologies that Jacquard and his predecessors used to
build their creations.
Almost two hundred years after Pascal (1820s and 30s), several
attempts were made to design a general
purpose machine by Charles Babbage. (Click the
image below to watch a video about Babbage and his
inventions.) Babbage's attempts might be seen as an evolution in
technology that was not implemented when it was invented,
because it was too complicated and too expensive
In 1889, the US Census changed forever due to the work of Herman Hollerith, who had worked on
the 1880 census, found it to be in dire need of an information
engineer, and subsequently created a punched card system for
tabulating the census data. His system was used by many other
countries for their censuses. He started a company to market his
services. It eventually merged with others and became IBM.
The rate of growth in computing power accelerated with the
application of electricity and, later, electronics, which really
started in World War II and the Cold War. Computers were an
invention that needed electronics to become what we consider them
today. The text presents a list of significant events on pages 6
and 7, taking us from 1941 to 2002.
On the next several pages, the text reviews the progression from
mainframes (centralized computing) to personal
computers (distributed computing), which led to networking
computers to share resources, primarily through client/server
networks. Mainframe computing put all processing on one
device, the mainframe. Workstations were only terminals in those
systems. Networking provides services and resources on
servers (centralization), while allowing processing to take place
on each client (distribution).
The world changed again when the Internet became
generally accessible, and commerce became common on it. It may
seem odd to you, but there was a time when there was a lot of
debate and doubt about the wisdom of allowing commercial entities
(businesses) to have a presence on the Internet, much less
allowing them to conduct the majority of their business on it.
Security was not an essential part of the Internet when it was
designed. It was not planned to be a system that everyone in the
world would be able to access. Pay attention to the four features
on page 11 that provide confidence in electronic commerce. They
are a little different from usual CIA components:
integrity - part of CIA, the confidence that electronic
transmissions are sent, processed, and stored as intended
nonrepudiation - the state in which there is proof of
what each party in a transaction has agreed to do, and who those
authentication - confidence that an online user or
provider is who they appear to be
privacy - the CIA element called confidentiality,
the trust that private information is and will remain private
These four area of concern are important to this text, and to any
information security professional. The text presents four common features
of an e-commerce site that we should keep in mind as areas to
secure and areas that will be attacked:
catalog - This is the area of a commercial web site
that discusses/presents the products and services of a business.
(It might be compromised by failing to present anything, or by
presenting incorrect information.)
shopping cart - The feature that tracks what a customer
is about to buy, or is considering buying. (This provides
tracking information about product interest, even is a purchase
is not made.)
transaction and payment processing - This is arguably
the most complex part of the system. It calculates costs to the
customer, and collects payment information that is of extreme
interest to attackers.
fulfillment system - Warehouse instructions, shipping
instructions, updates to the customer, and confirmation of the
transfer of goods and services happen here.
The text continues with some history about messaging and email,
as well as some material about early search engines, Gopher, Archie, and Veronica. There is also
a brief mention of a shared calendar as an example of groupware,
software that allows users to collaborate on a single document or
a project. This is not critical to the topic of the chapter, so we
will move on.
The Internet that most people know is only a portion of it, but
it is the most popular portion: the World Wide Web, invented by
Tim Berners-Lee. Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau invented the web,
as well as Hypertext Transfer Protocol, Hypertext Markup Language,
and the first web browser. You really needed all of those things
together to make the web possible and practical. The text
discusses three phases of the development of the World Wide Web:
Web 1.0 - The creation of web servers and documents
happened here. Users followed links to read files that were
stored on web servers. Searching on the web allowed searches in
the text of documents, not just in their titles, which was an
improvement over Gopher. Web portals began to appear to present
menus or collections of links to users.
Web 2.0 - The text tells us that this version is
characterized by blogging and social networking. Interactive
websites were created, such as Wikipedia, which allows users to
post and correct already posted information. Text file sharing
evolved to include audio, photo, and video file sharing. The
ability to create a web site was made available to everyone with
an ISP account. Web applications like games, productivity
software, and commercial streaming became common.
Web 3.0 - The text quotes Tim Berners-Lee as referring
to Web 3.0 as a single, connected, searchable database. Most
users would assume we are already there. The difference is more
a matter of what goes on behind the curtain, and what will be
available, storable, and sortable.
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to all the
devices that can be connected to the Internet, and that can be
queried, controlled, and used through those connections. For
instance, a consumer grade printer may be attached to a home LAN,
and the device's owner may take a photo with a web enabled smart
device which can then be printed immediately on that printer from
almost anywhere. The "almost" is important: the devices must be on
live Internet connections for this to work. The text offers three
areas in which this concept might be applied:
manufacturing - The text mentions that connected
manufacturing devices might report not only their use and
productivity, but their needs for maintenance and resupply. Self
diagnostics may be used to warn that a failure is becoming
likely before such a failure occurs. Information leaking to
competitors could be a problem.
healthcare - IoT sensors can report a patient's
condition to a doctor (or a monitoring AI) to watch a condition,
to monitor the result of a treatment, or provide statistical
data that would be unavailable without real time monitoring.
Privacy violations are a major concern.
transportation - The text points out that companies
like OnStar monitor the condition and performance of vehicles,
and that shipping companies monitor the progress of their
vehicles and individual packages for clients. It does not
mention the smart device applications that allow information
sharing about current traffic and weather conditions along an
intended route, which can be most helpful to travelers and to
emergency services staff trying to resolve problems.
The text lists some issues about information from IoT devices:
privacy of data, necessary encryption that may not have been
considered, authorization and authentication for users, and
software updates that may need to be delivered. This is more
challenging than it sounds. Enabling secure services on a computer
can be done, but how do we do it on a door lock or any other
common item that may be a very limited device?
Begin the reading assignments for the course.
Download the handouts file for this module.
Complete the assignment and class discussion made in
We will have a discussion about the planned exams in
our first class.