Fred Cohen

IRL Name: 
Frederick B. Cohen

Fred Cohen is an American computer scientist best known for defining the term "computer virus" and for inventing most of the widely used computer virus defense techniques employed today. In 1983 he wrote one of the first computer viruses, a program for a parasitic application that seized control of computer operations. He was also the principal investigator in charge of the team that defined the information assurance problem as it relates to critical infrastructure protection, a seminal researcher in the use of deception for information protection, a leader in advancing the science of digital forensic evidence examination, an information protection consultant and security industry analyst.

In the 70's and 80's he designed network protocols for secure digital networks carrying voice, video, and data, helped develop and prototype the electronic cashwatch for implementing personal digital money systems and developed integrity mechanisms for secure operating systems. In 1989 he won the international Information Technology Award for his work on integrity protection. In the 1990's, he developed protection testing systems and audit techniques, secure Internet servers, defensive information warfare systems and techniques, early systems using deception for information protection, and bootable CDs designed for forensics and secure server applications.

The protection techniques pioneered by Cohen now help to defend more than three quarters of all the computers in the world. He is currently the President of California Sciences Institute, a graduate non-profit educational institution focused on national security and advanced investigations and continues to be CEO of Fred Cohen & Associates, an information protection consulting firm.


He devised and ran the first Internet-based strategic information warfare wargame.

He developed the Sexual Harassment Game.