Consequently, it was during this time that companies such as Symantec and IBM began to research and study viruses and malware to isolate and mitigate the threat. The malware and anti-virus company McAfee was established during this era. John McAfee noticed that many of his friends' and associates' computers were acting abnormally and running very slowly. After some research, he was able to discern that programs had either been installed and were intentionally causing detriment to the system, or programs had begun to simply degrade and harm the system on which they were running.
After some technical research and development, McAfee was able to write specific technical signatures for the anomalies within those programs, and the signature-focused malware and anti-virus system was born (Hutchins, Cloppert, & Amin, n.d.). McAfee's system of signature recognition and anomalous behavior detection was immediately recognized as a pivotal point in mitigating and detecting these newly recognized threats. Overnight, companies began to follow suit and corporate defensive cyber security operations were effectively "born."
It was not until 1987 that the federal government began to take notice of this type of activity and instituted the first Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) (Grance et al., 2004). By the early 1990s, the rate of annual computer virus detection grew to over 1,000 instances per month. As the detection and isolation of computer viruses became a practice area within computer science, the detection and signature generation for viral programs also increased exponentially. By 1995, more than 250,000 viruses or variances of viruses had become commonplace. All of these incidents of early exploits and attacks paled in comparison to the growth of cyber threats that would emerge in the early 21st century.