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Infographic: A timeline of 15 key dates in ethical hacking history

Ethical hacking didn't just arise with the invention of computers. In fact, the practice of using one's skills to determine how an opponent might attack has been ongoing for more than 1,500 years.

Our ethical hacking ancestors actually originated in ancient India, when they sat down and began playing a strategy game known as chaturanga, an early version of chess. That evolved into actual chess, then military "tiger teams," and eventually, when technology advanced enough, into the operating system and application realm.

Of course, for a long time, nobody was calling it ethical hacking - but that's exactly what it was: Individuals or groups were assessing their own resiliency to attack. In other words, they were hacking themselves for their own good.

Nowadays, ethical hacking is a sought-after service for companies wishing to learn whether their IT security posture is vulnerable to adversaries. Trustwave is a leader in this modern-day ethical hacking through our penetration testing services, which we call Managed Security Testing.

But to do the best possible job, we believe in understanding where we came from. That's why we put together this neat infographic (PDF) to illustrate for us and you how the discipline of ethical hacking has matured, from the sixth century to current times. The timeline is worth checking out - if only for the pictures, which we really, really love.