This report is about ICT related ethical issues that have encountered by ICT users. ICT stands for Information and Communication Technology and it is advanced version of Information Technology. In ICT various advanced technologies for communication and information sharing are developed that are popular among IT users worldwide. Today in various business organizations ICT is implemented for better business performance and to do business at global level. By using recent ICT technologies such as smart phones, smart devices and other web technologies, for every business organization it has become easier to communicate with their clients and customers those are at remote locations. ICT includes communication devices or applications such as network hardware, software components, mobile phones and satellite systems. Besides these benefits or advantages of ICT, there are some disadvantages of ICT are found that are related to security and privacy. The issues of hacking, DDoS and phishing attacks are commonly encountered by ICT users. These all attacks are known as cyber-crime and it is ethically wrong. But here in this report we are emphasizing on ICT issue that is ethical right and known as ethical ICT issue. We will discuss an incident about ICT ethical issue that is given in a media article and analyze that article on behalf of four classical ethical theories such as utilitarianism, deontology, virtue and contract. This analysis of article on behalf of classical ethical theories will help to determine rightness and wrongness of actions taken in incident. The media article about which we will discuss here in this report is ethical issue of cybercrime in ICT.
First of all we will discuss about article that is based on cybercrime. Cybercrime can be hacking, phishing, identity theft and data breaching etc.
About Article of Cyber Crime
In selected media article it is defined that the main ICT ethical issue is Ethical Hacking that comes under Cybercrime. Ethical Hacking is different from unethical hacking in a way that it is implemented to help an individual or an organization by identifying weak points of their computer systems or networks that are used by hackers to hack their systems (Iep.utm.edu, 2017). Ethical Hacking is conducted with permission of an individual or a business organizations and main purpose of ethical hacking is to maintain security and privacy for long term. Ethical hackers are commonly known as white hackers because they execute bad actions to perform something good. Whether ethical hacking is an ethical ICT issue but it is related to cybercrime. Through an example of an incident we will discuss that how ethical hacking is implemented (BusinessDictionary.com, 2017).
Here we have case of University of Calgary where an email hacking attack was conducted by hackers to obtain information about students, fees structure, their courses and other important information that is related to University. In this hacking process, emails with vulnerable attachments were sent by hackers at email address of University. In this way, they got access of University’s database. In this situation, it was difficult for security professionals of University of Calgary to restore whole information. Hacker demanded heavy amount to restore data and management of University was ready to pay this amount. But it was not a wise decision to make. In this incident, the hacking conducted by hackers to access database, is unethical hacking. It is harmful for University and big loss of their information will occur (Sina, 2017).
But when security professionals of University decided to identify hackers by hacking university’s emails with their permissions then it is a case of ethical hacking. They have checked emails sent by hackers on University’s email id and by this they try to get IP addresses of hackers’ networks from where they have sent emails. This activity of security professionals is ethical and the decision taken by them was right. That is why it can be considered as ICT ethical issue (Mhrd.gov.in, 2017).
After discussing about an example of ICT ethical issue that has mentioned in a selected media article, now we will analyze this topic on behalf of ethical theories.
Article Analysis by Ethical Theories
Under this ethical theory, an action is considered ethically right if concerns of this action leads to happiness. But that action can also be considered ethically wrong if it concerns is unhappiness of others. An action is right or wrong, it is based on circumstances. After analyzing above discussed incident on behalf of this theory we can say that here action of ethical hacking is taken to help University by securing its database, so it can be considered as ethical issue of ICT (TechRepublic, 2017).
This ethical theory is concerned with judgment of an action’s morality. It is actually related to rule based ethics. If we analyze above discussed incident on behalf of this theory, then we can say that the action is taken according to rules of universities with its permission. So here ethical rules are followed by ethical hacking (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2017).
Under this classical ethical theory, character of an individual is key element for ethical thinking. According to above discussed case, here security professional is virtue and he has implemented ethical hacking for maintaining security and privacy of University’s database which is a positive approach towards cyber-crime victims. These security professionals are white hackers and they did not conduct hacking to damage someone’s data Hursthouse, & Pettigrove, 2017).
This classical theory is the view that political and moral obligations of persons are depended upon an agreement. In case of above incident, security professionals of university did everything under contract or university’s policies. All legal norms of university were mentioned in contract in clear form. Security professionals followed these norms that is why it is case of ethical hacking, otherwise it would have been case of unethical hacking (Cybercrime, 2017).
In this way above discussed these classical ethical theories are related to selected to media article and prove that action taken by security experts of university is ethically right (Techopedia.com, 2017).
The main arguing point here is that is it okay to hack a website for helping others? In answer of this argument we can say that when hacking is done to resolve problems of victims or to identify reasons of cybercrimes or for any other noble cause then it will be considered as ethical hacking and it will be right to hack a website. But if damage of information is the only purpose of hacking then it is serious case of unethical hacking and it must be restricted by developers and experts of security and privacy. So we would recommend to support ethical hacking of ICT (BusinessDictionary.com, 2017).
After this whole discussion we can say that ICT ethical hacking is helpful to stop hackers to perform unethical and vulnerable actions of accessing database and information of others. If issues of security, privacy and unauthorized access are implemented to identify reasons of hacking on system of victim, these are considered as ethical issues, otherwise these are unethical. It is actually related to circumstance in which hacking is done. At last we can say that in above discussed article, decision making is right and ethical and security professionals played an important role to perform ethical hacking to resolve problem of hacked data from university’s database. To perform this action, security experts should have experience and knowledge in their field.
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