We have some somber news to bring you this morning: Robert Morris, the cryptographer who helped create Unix
, has died at the age of 78. Morris began his work on the groundbreaking OS back in 1970 at AT&T's Bell Laboratories, where he played a major role in developing Unix's math library, password structure and encryption functions. His cryptographic exploration continued into the late 1970s, when he began writing a paper on an early encryption tool from Germany. But the paper would never see the light of day, thanks to a request from the NSA, which was concerned about potential security ramifications. Instead, the agency brought Morris on board as a computer security expert in 1986. Much of what he did for Uncle Sam remains classified, though he was involved in internet surveillance projects and cyber warfare -- including what might have been America's first cyberattack in 1991, when the US crippled Saddam Hussein's control capabilities during the first Gulf War. Morris stayed with the NSA until 1994, when he retired to New Hampshire. He's survived by his wife, three children and one, massive digital fingerprint.
[Image courtesy of the New York Times