Computer ethics is a new field of study which concerns the moral principles related to computers and computing. The difficulty in defining what computer ethics are stems from the fact that there are no formal rules or laws about them, so it’s hard to know what’s right or wrong in any given situation.
Computer security can be defined as protecting data on computers from being lost, destroyed, stolen, misused, or accidentally altered. But while computer security has been studied for years, little attention has been paid to its ethical implications until recently.
As technology advances and becomes more ubiquitous in our society we must be aware of how these advancements affect everyone-from hackers taking advantage of weak passwords to governments demanding backdoors into software programs like Whatsapp; these actions affect everyone, not just the people involved.
Relationship between Computer Security and Ethics
So what is the relationship between computer security and ethics? How can we improve security, both on an individual level and across our society? These are questions which many experts have tried to answer for years-and without a clear answer.
What is certain though is that they go hand in hand; you can’t have one without the other. If individuals don’t follow basic ethical principles when it comes to securing their own computers, then it casts doubt on their ability to act ethically in other aspects of life as well.
Likewise, if companies don’t adhere to basic security principles like encrypting data sent over email or protecting databases with sound passwords then this implies that these same companies may be more than willing to take advantage of consumers in other ways.
The unethical release of malicious computer viruses and malware through hacked emails, sites, links, and other methods is another link between computer security and ethics. Malicious applications collect, compile, and distribute data in order to gain unauthorized access to user accounts. They may either cause the system to crash or execute tasks that have been programmed into them.
On rare occasions, computer security and ethics are linked in unexpected ways. When a computer user clicks on a file that promises to provide free downloads of other people’s works, for example, this is an example of how these two disciplines are connected. These downloaded files can download songs, software, ringtones, movies, apps, and pictures.
It is unethical and illegal to download the intellectual and creative output of others without paying for it. Downloading material may be a violation of computer ethics, but the individual committing it may still go on with his or her crime.
The most common triggers of ransomware infection are adware, browser toolbars, and other third-party applications. They often include undesirable attachments in the form of malicious programs or tracking software, which may sometimes cause the machine to crash. In this case, computer ethics were violated, resulting in the loss of computer security.
The ease with which we can share and access information across the world makes it more crucial than ever that we address the need for computer security education.
No one is suggesting forcing individuals to learn about security, but when they choose to do so on their own they will become aware of the ethical implications behind what they do-and hopefully this mindset extends beyond just computers.