Dr. Darkness: Ethics Case Study
The rate of cybercrime has increased in the global scale. This is due to the advancement in the information technology whereby public and private organizations are using information technology to offer services to clients (Brenner & Ebrary, 2010; Latta, 2012). The risk of cyber-attacks on websites is more prominent in the digital age. Although there has been investment in technology that helps to prevent cybercrime, the hackers are also advancing their techniques. This continues to pose as a threat to corporate websites, especially corporations with low protection strategies against cybercrime. According to Latta (2012), the government websites have not been spared in the cybercrime activities. The government websites also contain crucial information, which may have financial gains to the hackers. Therefore, governments cannot ignore cybercrime activities in the country. There is a need for collaboration between government and private organizations to help in mitigating cybercrime, which pose a threat to both public and private institutions (Latta, 2012).The Oman government is one of the most targeted websites by hackers from different countries. This is because of low security measures undertaken to protect websites from cybercrime activities. According to KPMG International (2011), in 2010, Oman was ranked fourth globally behind South Africa, UK, and Spain among the most targeted sites by MessageLabs Services. There are different methods of carrying out cybercrime such as using viruses, worms, Trojans, spam emails, scareware, and malware among others (Brenner & Ebrary, 2010; Latta, 2012).
It is unethical to hack websites to present grievances for poor services offered by the company. Dr. Darkness hacked into a government website owned by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) in a protest for poor services offered by the organization (Staff Report, 2014). Although Dr. DarknesS may be justified since he might be angered by poor services from the company, hacking into the website is an unethical method of presenting his complaints. Dr. Darkness should have used the outlined communication channels to present complaints to the organization management. This is the accepted method to present complaints regardless of the extent of aggression caused by poor services.
- The activists should be encouraged to respect the outlined strategies to present their grievances.
- There is a need for educating and informing the public about the existing channels of communications when they receive poor services from government service providers.
- The Oman government should implement necessary security measures and policies against cybercrime activities.
- There is a need to emphasize on morality in the society, which will help in preventing occurrence of unethical activities such as hacking websites.
Importance, Outcomes and Impacts of Possible Solutions
The activists should use the outlined communication channels when lodging complaints due to poor services offered by TRA. Apart from the organization strategies, there are legal procedures through which the activists can lodge their complaints in a court of law. The other solution is educating and informing the public on the appropriate communication channels to lodge complaints of poor services offered by public institutions. The public should be educated that unethical activities such as hacking websites may cause destruction of existing infrastructure thereby worsening the current situation. The result of these strategies is public awareness on the existing channels of communications within the organization and outside the organization structure.
Cybercrime activities may have drastic negative impacts such as loss of money and information (Latta, 2012). Since there has been an increase in cybercrime activities globally, the government needs to upgrade the existing security measures to prevent hacking. According to Latta (2012), the government has a responsibility of protecting the people against all threats that may cause physical, social, mental or intellectual damage. This will help in maintaining the confidentiality of information and probable theft activities conducted through cybercrime activities. The government should also encourage the private sector to modern security strategies to prevent cybercrime activities (United States, Government Accountability Office, 2008). Furthermore, the government should develop the necessary security infrastructures for mitigating cybercrime activities (United States, Government Accountability Office, 2008).
Since cybercrime is an illegal activity, the perpetrators of cybercrime should be arrested and prosecuted in a court of law (Wall, 2008). The guilty suspects should be jailed to prevent further spread of cybercrime criminal activities. This strategy will inform other cybercrime perpetrators that they will be jailed if they continue with illegal activities. When there is emphasis on morality in the society, this will help in awakening the consciousness of society regarding unethical activities. Thus, people will not engage in unethical activities such as cybercrime, which pose a threat to public confidential information.
Values Upheld and Violated
When appropriate strategies are used to present complaints, this shows the activists appreciates the outlined channels of communication in an organization. This also shows there is respect for the organization management and laws by the government. The code of ethics for IT requires IT professionals to respect IT resources. In this case, the IT professional should not misuse, vandalize, circumvent or use IT resources for personal benefits (Reynolds, 2014). However, when the outlined communication channels are not functional, this violates the rights of consumers to access better services. This is because the customers have a right to be heard regardless of the weight of their complaints. The implementation of security measures and policies upholds the rights of citizens by protecting their information from hackers (Wall, 2008). The punishment of cybercrime perpetrators may violate the rights of people mistaken to be hackers. The emphasis on morality upholds the societal values and encourages proper behavior.
The complainants have a right to be heard by the management of the TRA. However, the presentation of the complaints should be done through the outlined channels of communication. Hacking of websites is both illegal and unethical activity. The code of ethics for information technology disregards using the knowledge acquired in IT to gain access to another person’s computer or website without the owner’s consent (Reynolds, 2014). It is also unethical to obtain confidential information such as passwords with an aim of gaining access to another person’s computer or website (Reynolds, 2014). This is the case of Dr. Darkness hacking into the TRA website to present his grievances due to poor services from the company (Staff Report, 2014).
When comparing the possible solutions, the implementation of the security policies and measures related to cybercrime is the outstanding solution. This is because the threat of cybercrime will remain despite changes in morals of Oman citizens. Hackers from other countries can also hack into the websites in Oman even without any concrete reason. When there is improvement in security infrastructure, government websites will be protected from local and foreign cybercrime activities. When there is a proper policy review, perpetrators of cybercrime will be prosecuted regardless of their location, nationality, and occupation. This is because hacking of websites is unlawful activity that is punishable through the law across the globe. Although these may not be an immediate strategy, it is the best option for long-term solution to cybercrime activities. This is because it may take long time to implement appropriate security infrastructure and witness the benefits of the strategy. Therefore, Dr. Darkness should be arrested and charged in a court of law for violating the code of ethics for IT, hacking TRA website and posing a threat to public information contained in the website.
Brenner, S. W., & Ebrary, I. (2010). Cybercrime: Criminal threats from cyberspace. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger.
KPMG International. (2011). Cyber Crime – A Growing Challenge for Governments, Issues Monitor. 8(1). Pp 1-22.
Latta, S. L. (2012). Cybercrime: Data trails do tell tales. Berkeley Heights, N.J.: Enslow Publishers.
Reynolds, G. (2014). Ethics in Information Technology. New York: Cengage Learning.
Staff Report. (2014). Teen hacker hits five Omani government websites. Retrieved from http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/oman/teen-hacker-hits-five-omani-government-websites- 1.1306001
United States. Government Accountability Office. (2008). Cybercrime: Impact and responses to cyber threats. New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Wall, D. S. (2008). Cybercrime, media and insecurity: The shaping of public perceptions of cybercrime, International Review of Law, Computers & Technology. 22(2). Pp 45-63.