Ethical Look At Computer Viruses Research Essay

Ethical Look At Computer Viruses Essay, Research Paper

No Security:

A Ethical Expression At Computer Viri

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Thesis: There is no manner to halt people from composing viruses and there shouldn & # 8217 ; t be, nevertheless punishments need to be employed for those who damage or cause injury in any manner to other people and computing machines.

I. The Australian Taxation Office ( ATO ) had to shut down due to a computing machine virus infection.

A. Australian computing machine vandals are believed responsible for 100s of viruses which have caused 1000000s of dollars in harm worldwide.

II. This background raises some inquiries


III. There is no manner to halt people from composing viruses and there shouldn & # 8217 ; t be, nevertheless punishments need to be employed for those who damage or cause injury in any manner to other people and computing machines.

IV. Answer inquiries

A. Because the author is non the 1 to physically harm the computing machine, is he making anything incorrect?

1. Thucydides

2. Ten Commandments

3. The nazarene

4. Epicurus

5. Thomas Hobbes

B. As of right now, it is non illegal to compose viruses, but should it be?

1. Martin Luther King, Jr.

2. Bibical Tradition

3. Thomas Aqunias

C. Should anti-virus research workers be allowed to compose viruses to larn more about them?

1. Jeremy Benthan

2. John Locke

D. Are & # 8220 ; benevolet & # 8221 ; viruses wrong?

1. Epictetus

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2. Jeremy Bentham

E. If a virus causes a fire is the individual who wrote this virus responsible?

1. Aristotle

2. Bibical Tradition

F. If a virus causes a decease is the individual who wrote this virus responsible?

1. Bibical Tradition

2. John Stuart Mill

G. If person steals a virus and infects a computing machine should the author be in problem?

1. Aristotle

2. Ten Commandments

H. Should the & # 8216 ; Zines be punished for giving out potentially damaging codification?

1. Bible

2. Thomas Aquinas

3. Metabolis

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No Security:

A Ethical Expression At Computer Viri

On the 16th of February, 1995, the media across Australia was gloating the intelligence, that the Australian Taxation Office ( ATO ) had to shut down due to a computing machine virus infection. A computing machine virus is a malicious plan which can change, harm, or destruct files and computing machine memory and may assail and distribute without its victim & # 8217 ; s cognition. There are at least 8600 known viruses worldwide and new 1s are being added at the rate of 200 a month. This narrative received front page notice in the newspapers, and a outstanding topographic point in the telecasting intelligence bulletin of every station. This virus that & # 8220 ; Harry McBungus & # 8221 ; created when he was a high school pupil, shut down the ATO national web for a full twenty-four hours, and anti-virus experts were still working on cleaning up the jobs three yearss subsequently. All 26 subdivisions of ATO had to be isolated while the virus was eventually tracked down to a subdivision in a Melbourne suburb.

Australian computing machine vandals are believed responsible for 100s of viruses which have caused 1000000s of dollars in harm worldwide. Australia is ill-famed for virus groups such as Viral Labs and Distribution ( VLAD ) , Computer Virus Research and Information Service ( CRIS is non based in Australia but many of its authors are ) , and Revelation among others. Millions of computing machines around the universe are hit by viruses each twelvemonth, in malice of out puting one million millions of dollars for anti-virus protection ( italicized words are defined in the glossary ) . It is general cognition in the virus community that the mean virus onslaught takes about two and a half yearss to eliminate. Even so, a one-fourth of the companies hit by a virus can anticipate to be re-infected within 30 yearss. Viruss can be programmed to assail on contact or to sit dormant like a clip bomb, put to travel off on a specific day of the month. Australian viruses with names such as Puke.393, Aussie Parasite, Dudley, and Incest have created mayhem in both private endeavor and authorities sections.

This background raises some inquiries. A virus author seldom of all time really touches a computing machine that he infects because viruses contaminate a computing machine through septic discs, BBS & # 8217 ; s ( Bulletin Board Services ) , online services, the Internet, and guiltless looking plans ( called & # 8220 ; Trojans & # 8221 ; because they are really much like the Trojan Horse that was the death of ancient Troy ) that truly do something utile but subsequently will do harm. Because the author is non the 1 to physically harm the computing machine, is he making

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anything incorrect? As of right now, it is non illegal to compose viruses, but should it be? Should anti-virus

research workers be allowed to compose viruses to larn more about them? Non-harmful viruses have been written to seek for and destruct other more destructive viruses. These & # 8220 ; benevolent & # 8221 ; viruses are helpful, but still seldom of all time state the user if they are on his computing machine and are difficult to acquire rid of if do warn you they are present. Are these viruses incorrectly?

Architectural and technology houses many times have really expensive proctors for demoing their concluding work to clients. These proctors can be set to hold a perfect photographic quality image but non for really long because the screen starts to bring forth a batch of heat. A certain virus changes the proctor into this manner and if no 1 is around to turn it off the proctor will get down to run and finally it can get down a fire. Is the individual who wrote this virus responsible for the fire if one of all time happens?

Another related narrative involves a infirmary whose blood bank computing machine was infected with the Cookie Monster Virus. Every two hebdomads this virus displays a image of Sesame Street & # 8217 ; s Cookie Monster and asks & # 8220 ; What do I like to eat? & # 8221 ; If the word & # 8220 ; cookies & # 8221 ; is typed the virus will hole up for two more hebdomads, if the reply is incorrect, the contents of the computing machine are overwritten and all the information is lost everlastingly. The hospital staff at the blood bank didn & # 8217 ; t cognize the reply or was afraid to seek it. Because they couldn & # 8217 ; t acquire to the blood type records, a immature adult male died. Should the individual who created this virus be charged with killing this adult male?

Many times person will compose a virus and so boast to their friends about it. If the friends so take the codifications and infect a computing machine who so should be in problem? The author? The friend? Both of them? Electronic magazines ( known as & # 8216 ; Zines or E-Zines ) such as VLAD and CRIS print the coders codifications for doing the viruses they write about, which makes it possible for person without programming cognition to do a unrecorded, undetectable, mutating virus ( otherwise known as a full-stealth, polymorphous virus ) . Should the & # 8216 ; Zines be punished for giving out this potentially detrimental codification? While there are many other inquiries that could be asked these are some of the most of import. For the replies, we will confer with the Greeks, the Bible, Moral Law, and Utilitarianism.

It is the writers felling that there is no manner to halt people from composing virus and there shouldn & # 8217 ; T

be, nevertheless punishments need to be employed for those who damage or cause injury in any manner to other

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people and computing machines. With the undermentioned ethical research the greatest philosophers with be consulted for at that place position of this thesis.

Because the virus author is non the 1 to physically harm the computing machine is he making anything incorrect? Not harmonizing to the Athenians who lived around 400 B.C. The historian Thucydides wrote, & # 8220 ; & # 8230 ; the criterion of justness depends on the equality of the power to oblige and that in fact the strong do what they have the power to make and the weak accept what they have to accept & # 8230 ; & # 8221 ; ( 8 [ All quotation marks are from Ethical motives in America by Newton unless otherwise stated ] ) Quite merely ; might makes right. Since these people have unseeable power ( might ) over those who are at hazard of computing machine infection what they do can & # 8217 ; t be considered incorrect. The Bible disagrees. The eighth of the Ten Commandments tells us that & # 8220 ; Thou shall non steal. & # 8221 ; ( 71 ) While the virus author doesn & # 8217 ; t really take the informations, he does destruct it or do it unserviceable and it is hence non in the place of the rightful proprietor. However Jesus says, & # 8220 ; For if you forgive work forces their trespasses, your heavenly Father besides will forgive you ; but if you do non forgive work forces their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. & # 8221 ; ( 86 ) Once the individual has indirectly ( through the virus ) trespassed on to the septic computing machine we are to forgive them, or we can non anticipate forgiveness from God. The Utilitarian Epicurus, wrote in The Extant Remains that & # 8220 ; & # 8230 ; since pleasance is the first good and natural to us, for this really ground we do non take every pleasance, but sometimes we pass over many pleasances, when greater uncomfortableness accrues to us as the consequence of them & # 8230 ; & # 8221 ; ( 157 ) Since the hurting caused by viruses is greater than the pleasances gained by the author so it is incorrect. The Moral Lawist Thomas Hobbes would differ with the Athenians entirely because he believes that, & # 8220 ; Nature hath made work forces so equal in the modules of organic structure and head as that.. when all is reckoned together the difference between adult male and adult male is non so considerable as that one adult male can there claim to himself any benefit to which another may non feign every bit good as he. & # 8221 ; ( 104 ) He is stating that might does non do right because all work forces are created, for the most portion, equal. Overall, the bulk of the philosophers agree that it is incorrect to harm the belongings of another, whether the injury is the consequence of a fist or viral codifications.

So now that it is established that malicious devastation is incorrect why shouldn & # 8217 ; t we outlaw any possibility of it go oning by stating that you can & # 8217 ; t even compose a virus? Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in

his missive & # 8220 ; A Letter From the Birmingham Jail & # 8221 ; that & # 8220 ; an person who breaks a jurisprudence that scruples Tells

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him is unfair, and who volitionally accepts the punishment of imprisonment in order to elicit the scruples of the community over its unfairness, is in world showing the highest regard for law. & # 8221 ; ( 152 ) It is sensible to state that he would be willing to believe the antonym for the deficiency of a merely jurisprudence. If we try to do a merely jurisprudence by eliciting the scruples of the community we still would be & # 8220 ; showing the highest regard for jurisprudence & # 8221 ; and would non be perpetrating a offense in the procedure. It is non possible to happen a topographic point in Biblical tradition that reference & # 8217 ; the fact that there should be a new jurisprudence because God would be acknowledging that he was incorrect, or at least non wholly right, so we must look to the other traditions. Thomas Aqunias in Summa Theologica wrote, & # 8220 ; Consequently every human jurisprudence has merely so much of character of jurisprudence as is derived from the jurisprudence of nature. But if in any point it differs from the jurisprudence of nature, it is no longer a jurisprudence but a corruptness of law. & # 8221 ; ( 97 ) The moral jurisprudence acerb trial of a jurisprudence could be to see if it [ the jurisprudence ] conforms to the natural jurisprudence. The paragraph above shows that wilful harm is incorrect, so stating that it is illegal to compose viruses wouldn & # 8217 ; t be an unfair jurisprudence or a jurisprudence reverse to the jurisprudence of nature.

One can now see that it may be a good thought to criminalize viruses wholly. But the best manner for anti-virus forces to larn how a virus works is to make one. Besides, composing a virus is unarguably one of the easiest ways to maestro assembly degree scheduling which is the most powerful tool any computing machine user can hold. To compose a good ( or bad depending on your position point ) virus, you have to cognize how to flim-flam the computing machine into believing that what it knows exists, the virus, truly doesn & # 8217 ; t. Computers would ne’er hold become the unbelievable tools they are today if LIM ( Lotus, Intel, and Microsoft ) had non found a manner to flim-flam them into believing that what they knew didn & # 8217 ; t be, memory over 640 Ks, truly did. Maybe viruses aren & # 8217 ; t every bit bad as they foremost seemed.

So far we have merely looked at the bad in viruses and came to the decision that they should be eliminated, but what if we added their possible good to the equation? Utilitarianists would weigh the aid and injury of the engineering and make up one’s mind from that. To

determine this we would utilize Jeremy Bentham’s expression of happening out the strength, continuance, certainty, and proximity of the hurting and pleasance among other parts of the equation. ( 158 ) It is the authors belief that if the populace was more educated and virus authors didn’t administer their “art” so the pleasance would be greater than the hurting. However, this is merely

one tradition. John Locke wrote in his Treatise of Government, Part II that & # 8220 ; work forces may be restrained from

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occupying others & # 8217 ; rights, and from making hurt to one another & # 8230 ; & # 8221 ; ( 110 ) This may look like it is stating that viruses should be illegal but when one Michigan and thinks about it, if person made it more hard for one to larn an of import accomplishment, of if they prevented the find of a secret that would assist all of society so they would be & # 8220 ; occupying others & # 8217 ; rights, and & # 8230 ; making injury to one another. & # 8221 ; What Locke meant, in this authors sentiment, is that one may make whatever you wish to profit yourself, such as larning assembly linguistic communication through viral scheduling, every bit long as it doesn & # 8217 ; t harm society by occupying others rights, such as printing a unsafe virus.

It is clear that it is incorrect to print viral codification if the virus can do harm, but what if the virus merely searches out other viruses and so destruct them? Isn & # 8217 ; T this still an invasion of belongings? Epictetus says in his Moral Discourses, Part I, & # 8220 ; What so is to be done? To do best of what is our power, and take the remainder as it occurs. & # 8221 ; ( 93 ) So he would hold that the people who created the destructive viruses should make what is in their power to do the state of affairs right or & # 8220 ; to do best what is in our power. & # 8221 ; Using Jeremy Bentham & # 8217 ; s step of pleasance and hurting, a Utilitarian would take into history the short sum of clip it takes to observe and cancel the virus ( continuance ) , the sum of heartache that the good virus can salvage ( strength ) , and the fact that the bad virus will do injury ( certainty ) we can see that there is nil unethical about a non-harmful virus even though it still invade a individuals privateness. ( 158 )

Now to alter the topic somewhat. If a virus caused physical injury, such as a fire because the computing machine & # 8217 ; s proctor over-heated, should the virus author be held responsible? If we were to inquire Aristotle he would desire to cognize if the virus author meant for the proctor to over-heat and get down a fire or if he was merely seeking to damage the proctor. Assuming that it was merely meant to acquire the proctor hot and falsify the image so the fire could be & # 8220 ; owing to ignorance & # 8221 ; ( 44 ) , in otherwords it was nonvoluntary. Aristotle taught that & # 8220 ; & # 8230 ; virtuousness is concerned with passions and action, and on voluntary passions and actions congratulations and incrimination are bestowed, on those that are nonvoluntary forgiveness, and sometimes besides commiseration & # 8230 ; & # 8221 ; ( 45 ) Since the individual that wrote the harmful codification was nescient to the possibility of a fire so excuse should be granted. If, nevertheless, the individual did intend to do a fire so fault and the proper penalty should be

administrated. Biblical Tradition says in Exodus, & # 8220 ; you shall give life for life, oculus for oculus, tooth for tooth,

manus for manus, pes for pes, burn for burn, lesion for lesion, band for stripe. & # 8221 ; ( 71 ) Supplying that the

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virus author is caught, his belongings should be burned.

But what if the virus caused a decease? Should the penalty be worse? Biblical Tradition says, & # 8220 ; Whoever strikes a adult male so that he dies shall be put to decease. But if he did non lie in delay for him, but God let him fall into his manus, so I [ God ] will name for you a topographic point to which he may flee. & # 8221 ; ( 71 ) If the virus author didn & # 8217 ; t intend for the virus to do a decease, as was the instance with the Cookie Monster virus, so he should non be executed. The Utilitarianist, John Stuart Mill, wrote in On Liberty, & # 8220 ; Whenever, in short, there is a definite harm, or a definite hazard of harm, either to an person or to the populace, the instance is taken out of the state of autonomy, and placed in that of morality of law. & # 8221 ; ( 182 ) Death is a definite harm ( at least to those that have lost the loved 1. Socrates said that there was no cogent evidence that decease was in anyhow harmful to the individual that died. ) So hence the individual that caused the harm has to be punished.

When a virus author brags to his friends about a virus he has created and the friends go and infect a computing machine did both the author and friend do something unethical? We have already established that the friend should be punished for wilfully harming others and their belongings. So what about the author? We could utilize Aristotle & # 8217 ; s statements that he didn & # 8217 ; t voluntarily infect a computing machine but that it was done by person else & # 8217 ; s will. Merely because you tell person that you own a gun and so that individual uses that gun to kill another human doesn & # 8217 ; t intend that you had any portion in the slaying. Aristotle goes on to state in Politics, & # 8220 ; For adult male, when perfect, is the best of animate beings, but, when seperated from jurisprudence and justness, he is the worst of all ; since armed unfairness is more unsafe, and he is equipped at birth with weaponries, meant to be used by intelligence and virtuousness which he may utilize for the worst ends. & # 8221 ; ( 61 ) The virus author used his & # 8220 ; weaponries & # 8221 ; for intelligence and virtuousness when he programmed the virus as a scheduling exercising. His friend was seperated from jurisprudence and justness because he used his & # 8220 ; weaponries & # 8221 ; to steal and ache.

Viral Labs and Distribution ( VLAD ) and Computer Virus Research and Information Service ( CRIS ) publish viral codification that is non compiled claiming that in that signifier the viruses are inactive. While that may be true, roll uping the beginning codification takes no scheduling cognition and can be done by anyone that owns or has entree to a computing machine. They are doing it possible for the populace to & # 8220 ; write & # 8221 ; their ain

viruses. Is at that place anything unethical about his? The Bible tells us that it is incorrect to & # 8220 ; do your brother to

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stumble. & # 8221 ; ( 87 ) Thomas Aquinas & # 8217 ; Summa Theologica says, & # 8220 ; & # 8230 ; adult male acts for an terminal by his ground and will. & # 8221 ; ( 97 ) So if a individual ever acts will a ground, it would be helpful to analyze VLADs ground for printing their & # 8216 ; Zine. They province:

Purposes and Policies

+ & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; & # 8212 ; +

I guess it & # 8217 ; s non our purpose, but one of our chief policies is that we don & # 8217 ; t release and destructive codification. Some people out at that place will reason that a virus in any form or signifier is destructive.. what I & # 8217 ; m speaking about is purposeful devastation such as arranging people & # 8217 ; s difficult thrusts, composing random sectors, etc. The ground for this is that it makes thing bad for everyone. It helps further the theory that all virus writers are nerdy *censored*s who have nil better to make [ than ] destruct a computing machine.

The ground we publish this magazine, is because we have something to offer that could be of usage to others. We hope to educate people on how viruses work, and make this by giving illustrations. There are people out their that might hold fun infixing their ain dent in the virus and distributing it to seek and be elect, but I & # 8217 ; vitamin Ds say a bulk of people really acquire something utile out of our mag. Anti Virus research is wholly legal every bit far as I know, and our magazine would surely assist person who & # 8217 ; s in this field. Or on the other manus it could be used by a beginning virus writer who needs aid to acquire their virus off the land. Information is a free trade good, we & # 8217 ; re merely go throughing it along. & # 8221 ;

If the grounds quoted here are the existent grounds that VLAD publishes their magazine so the lone people that are making anything incorrect are the people that compile and administer the working virus. For illustration, there is nil incorrect with fertiliser. Without it husbandmans that provide us with fruits and veggies and the ranchers that provide us with meats would hold a much more hard clip turning the workss they need to make their occupation. However, sometimes people choose to misapply the fertiliser and other usually helpful chemicals for the devising of devices that kill monolithic Numberss of people at a clip. Are the industries making anything immoral by selling their merchandise? Of class non. In add-on anti-virus

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research workers can update their ain plans to look for the freshly published viruses every bit shortly as the electronic magazines come out. If Viral Labs and Distribution didn & # 8217 ; t print their codification, so anti-virus forces would hold to first insulate the new virus and so pass months dismantling it.

In decision, it seems that times most well-thought-of philosophers concur with this writers thesis, that virus authorship is all right every bit long as no 1 is hurt.

& # 8220 ; Ultimately, there is no security. & # 8221 ;

-Dr. Fred Cohen, Professor, University of Cincinnati

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Anders, E. , Atwater, D. , Baker, K. , Bergen, K. , Duarte, B. , & A ; Goldsmith, K. ( 1993 ) . The Norton Anti- Virus User & # 8217 ; s Guide. Cupertino, California: Symantec Corp.

Booth, Stephen A. ( 1995, June ) . Doom Virus. Popular Mechanics, pp. 51-54 & A ; 128.

Ludwig, Mark. ( 1991 ) . The Small Black Book of Computer Viruses. Tucson: American Eagle Publication, Inc.

Lundell, Allan. ( 1989 ) . Virus! . Chicago: Contemporary Books

Metabolis ( 1995, April 27 ) . Aim & A ; Policies [ Electronic Magazine ] . Viral Labs and Distribution, pp. 8-9

Newton, H. Lisa. ( 1989 ) . Ethical motives in America. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall

Symantec. ( 1993 ) . The Norton Anti-Virus: Version 3 for DOS and Windows [ Computer Anti-Viral plan ] . Cupertino, California: Symantec Corp.

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Appendix A

Throughout this essay I have avoided the usage of the word & # 8220 ; hacker & # 8221 ; when mentioning to virus authors. The right manner of mentioning to virus authors would be & # 8220 ; cracker. & # 8221 ;

The definition of a cracker is one who attempts to interrupt into a system via cracking/guessing user watchwords. Most of the crackers are immature adolescent punks who are really malicious and seek to acquire their boots from destructing or changing informations on a system. The media frequently times mistakes the cracker for the hacker. Besides note that a cracker & # 8217 ; s degree of education/intelligence on the system and its interior workings ECT. is really low.

The hacker on the other manus is an person who yearns for cognition. The hackers are really knowing persons. They frequently times know several scheduling linguistic communications, work extensively with the inwards and outwards of UNIX, have a steadfast apprehension of all the TCP/IP executions and protocols. They keep abreast on all security related issues affecting computing machines. Interrupting into a system for a hacker is a bang, it is a challenge that they take on. The hacker takes much delight in researching the system from the outside/inside seeking smartly for misconfigurations, bugs, and holes in the operating system that would let them to interrupt into the machine. Once in the system the challenge had been completed and they have succeeded in interrupting in. It is against hacker moralss to change any informations aside from the logs that are needed to clean their paths. They have no demand or want to destruct informations as the malicious crackers. They are at that place to research the system and larn more. The hacker has a changeless longing and thirst for cognition that increases in strength as their journey advancements.

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Anti-virus protection Usually a plan that searches for known viruses and so destroys them

Assembly degree programming Most hard manner to plan. See CODE for illustration

Code Viruss are written with codification like this:

push bp

mov bp, sp

lupus erythematosuss bx, [ bp+4 ]

mov cx, [ bp+8 ]

mov ax, 0

A on the job virus would hold 100s of lines like this

Compiled Compiling changes the & # 8220 ; words & # 8221 ; seen in CODE to the 1s and nothing that a computing machine understands

Data The information on a computing machine. Files, directories, ECT.

Hard drive The memory [ storage ] of a computing machine

Formating Deletion of all informations

Beginning codification Same as CODE

Writing random sectors Overwriting random musca volitanss on the difficult thrust to ensuing in corrupt files

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Virus author Since computing machine viruses are plans and non natural

devices like organic viruses they must be created. The virus author creates them.