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Ethics Tech Viruses, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 674

Essay

With new advanced technology, also comes the threats and dangers that are capable of harming computer systems and networks. There are many forms of danger, two of which are Trojan horses and worms. These two dangers can be very harmful if introduced into a computer system or network. A Trojan horse is acts as a benign application, but in reality it is a malicious program that will purposefully do something that the user is not expecting (Viruses, Worms, and Trojan Horses, 2013). Trojan Horses are not viruses because they do not replicate themselves. This type of harm often includes a client and a server. The client is disguised as important software and is positioned in peer-to-peer file sharing networks or unauthorized downloaded websites (Viruses, Worms, and Trojan Horses, 2013). Once the attacker is in position he has a significant amount of control over the computer (Viruses, Worms, and Trojan Horses, 2013).

Computer worms are considered to be viruses. They replicate themselves and often reside in the active memory of a computer (Viruses, Worms, and Trojan Horses, 2013). Once a computer is infected, the virus can be transferred to other computers by the worm sending copies of itself through e-mail and also chat sessions (Viruses, Worms, and Trojan Horses, 2013).

In 1988, Morris released a worm to gauge the size of the internet. It was disguised so that it could not be traced back to Cornell University (Quinn, 2011). When the worm was released there was no thought as to how it would effect it would have or the damaged that would be caused (Quinn, 2011). This worm was not intended to cause damage to other systems, however this is what happened.

Depending on the theory of ethics used, this worm could be considered ethical or unethical. According to Kantian Ethics, as long as a person is acting in a moral way then that person is being ethical (Quinn, 2011). If you do something that is for the greater good, than the consequences are basically irrelevant (Quinn, 2011). So in this aspect, the release of the Morris Worm would be an ethical endeavor. The release of the worm was to answer a question for society; how large is the internet? This question being answered would be helpful to many people; therefore it was an ethical decision to release the worm, regardless of the damage that was caused due to this action. Those affected in the process are unimportant, as long as the action was taken for a justified cause when using Kantian logic (Quinn, 2011)

If Utilitarian ethics are the basis for determining whether the release of the worm was ethical, the answer would be no. Utilitarian ethics are based on actions that benefit the greater good (Quinn, 2011). This type of ethical situation is based on the results of the action. If the results cause more harm than good, then this act was unethical (Quinn, 2011). The end must justify the means, in other words (Quinn, 2011).The release of the worm caused significant damage to many computers and computer networks, making the results of this action harmful to many who were unknowingly involved.

Was the release of the worm ethical? The answer is determined by the type of logic that a person uses. The answer will vary greatly depending on each person’s own ethical beliefs. Utilitarian ethics and Kantian ethics are very different; the former is based on action whereas the latter is based on results. Each theory is based on morality and each believer seeks to live a virtuous life (Quinn, 2011). It often depends on the situation being considered whether there is a stance on Kantian or Utilitarian ethics. In this situation, more likely the answer to whether releasing the worm was ethical, will most likely be based on Utilitarian ethics in which the end did not justify the means, therefore the action was unethical based on the damaged caused.

Works Cited

Quinn, M. J. (2011). Ethics for the Information Age (4th Ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson Addison Wesley.

Viruses, Worms, and Trojan Horses. (2013). Retrieved from Capital University: http://www.capitaluniversity.com

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