Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type


Terms of Use

© 2019 Roman Shemakov. All rights reserved. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History Department

First Advisor

Megan Brown

Second Advisor

Bruce Dorsey


This paper analyzes the history of cybercrime rhetoric through the 1989 hacking of the earliest internet network, ARPANET. The event is useful for understanding how contagion rhetoric of the computer science professionals imprints onto the public consciousness, security agencies, and legal institutions. By drawing on notes from the meetings of the National Computer Security Center, Congressional Hearings, Court Cases, and National Legislation in the aftermath of the Morris Worm, the author explores how contagion discourse constructs protectorate institutions in its image. From the birth of the computing industry in World War II, to the Computer Eradication Act of 1989, this paper traces how popular catastrophic events, like the Morris Worm, construct a public reaction that instinctually abdicates intellectual authority to an expert-induced panic.

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History Commons