These films (strung together into one film here) were originally made for the annual Skytop conference of Bell Labs executives, and were shown over a series of days during the conference. They were intended to be a wake-up call regarding computer security issues, and present a realistic view of then-plausible security breaches, along with accompanying set of worst-case scenarios.
The computer security team at Bell Labs at the time took pains to get their message across at this particular meeting, handing out computer security awareness swag — water bottles! key rings! — even distributing copies of 2600: A Hacker's Quarterly. The idea was that it was high time that the entire staff took the threats seriously.
The cultural climate at this time reinforced this message. Parent company AT&T had recently suffered the effects of a software bug that the government originally believed was caused by a hacker. A few months later, Labs computer scientist Bill Cheswick set up a hacker honeypot to snag and study break-ins over the modems at the Labs. AT&T was a big, challenging target for hackers.
Today, computer security is an integral concern to any business, government, or individual, and protection has to extend to mobile networks as well as wired ones. Today, AT&T offers a wide spectrum of network security services, and runs a Security Research Center devoted to developing new response systems to constantly-evolving threats to company and customer networks.
Footage courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ