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Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Hacking Essay

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Updated: Dec 10th, 2019


Roughly 80 percent of our community currently relies on intricate computer supported systems. With the growing utilization of computer and rapid increase of the internet has resulted to numerous good things: online trade, e-banking, call centres, e-mail etc. The enhancement of system protection with a view of preventing unethical hacking has become a significant issue to community.

There are various methods of protecting an information system; it appears that the ethical hacking offers an improved method. Thus, whether to integrate or not integrate the “ethical hacking” in institutions of higher learning has become a fascinating debate. This essay evaluates the ethical, lawful, and social inferences of this concern.

So as to discuss the ethical, lawful, and ethical inferences of this concern, people need an understanding of the phrase ethical hacking. Raymond asserts that ethical hacking is a phrase used to mean computer hackers, people who attempt to enter secure networks with a view of learning the network’s weakness in order that it can be fixed (Raymond 2003). The query arising from this definition is whether the phrase is ethical or not ethical.

Ethical implications

Ethics regarding computer systems claims partially that all data belongs to people and that no limitations or boundaries for preventing exposure of this data (Goheen & Fiske 2007). From hacker’s viewpoint, independence of information comprises the access to system passwords and the program itself. This autonomy in addition comprises the right of accessing data stored on systems.

Often, a hacker argues that the independence of data principles give him or her the right of having unlimited contact with system applications, e-mail and codes. At this instant, the ethical level of hacking has changed to “computer cracking” (Kephart et al. 2010).

When the data in any computer device has become accessible to all, there are no such things like confidential information, and there is in addition no seclusion issue. Training people to be ethical hackers is the same as training people to break into someone’s property and analyze the weakness of that property.

If ethical hacking has been trained in institutions, how does one know the trainees will not “hack” into the systems? If a student finds a really chief weakness, how does one know that he or she will not take advantage of it, or brag concerning it especially on the internet?

Additionally, teaching people ways of hacking into people’s systems is in addition a raid of someone’s seclusion, Boulanger (1998) claims that the intrusion of someone’s seclusion is ethically not correct. One may contend that it is justifiable the hackers are only attempting to assess the vulnerability of that computer application without accessing individual information or private data.

However, the moment the hacking knowledge has been imparted to people, it is erratic that the hackers will not utilize this knowledge to access some private data.

Once the hackers realize that the confidential data is useful for personal use, items like banking details, health information, credit details, workforce information, and defence details are likely to be changed by the hackers. Obviously, when such event occurred, it appears that the training on ethical hacking may not be an excellent approach.

Most governments lack an apparent regulation stating that whether the hacking knowledge to be learned as an option in institutions is lawful or illegal. However, most of the nations have embraced an integrated system crime policy which prevented hacking. Florida, a state in United States, was the first state to embrace an integrated system crime policy which prevented hacking operations in the early 1980s (Goheen & Fiske 2007).

In United Kingdom, the federal legislations have endorsed that illegal intrusion into, or alteration of, secured information it is not allowed in the law (Boulanger 1998). Clearly, if hacking into someone’s system is considered as an integrated system offense, so the training of ethical hacking turns out to be insignificant.

Indeed, ethical hacking is not only the method that can enhance computer protection. Software like raid-detection applications can secure an integrated application from operations that suggest illegal or unsuitable operation. Firewalls can protect systems from intrusion.

However, if ethical hacking courses are being learned by people, it is anticipated that the operations regarding ethical hacking are allowed by the computer user before. Otherwise, these operations will be regarded as a crime against the legislation.

Social implications

In the contemporary world, companies and government depend very much on computer systems and internet. Sufficiently securing a company’s data records is an indispensable concern. Most of the companies have integrated protection software or applications like firewall or hack-detection devices with a view of protecting their data sets and to rapidly notice possible intrusions.

IBM system Journal argues that certain companies have realized that among the excellent methods of evaluating the hacker possibility to their advantages would be to have an autonomous system protection professional try to intrude their systems (Boulanger 1998).

This might be an excellent method of evaluating the computer weakness. However, allowing intrusion test staffs enter its computer applications, the company may experience several threats. For instance, the intrusion test personnel may be unsuccessful in identifying possible weaknesses; important protection details may be exposed, escalating the threat of the organization being prone to potential intrusion (Kephart et al. 2010).

Some companies even sponsor their computer application personnel to learn about ethical hacking in institutions of higher learning. Basically, the individual to be coached is anticipated to be of integrity. Otherwise it will not be an ethical way of approaching the issue.


In testing the protection and the other aspects of computer application is not something new. But during the initial phases of internet nobody knew of ethical hacking even regarding hacking itself, but with time an individual is more aware regarding the protection of his or her information, particularly because of attackers.

Ethical hacking is simply a protection system or means of securing data it is not a final answer to hacking. Organizations cannot relax simply because they have used ethical hacking. With the current ineffective protection regarding the internet, legal hacking may be the only adequate method of filling protection gaps and avoid system threats.

However, teaching legal hacking to people would just increase the level of hacking in the world. Regardless of the motivation the objective in this case is to enhance present system protection; no one can estimate what is likely to occur once the individual completes the training in hacking operations.

And if there are more hackers in community, it would just implies the threat of the computer being attacked by hackers will increase. Thus, it is unsuitable to train ethical hacking as a career in institutions of higher learning.


Boulanger, A 1998, ‘Catapults and grappling hooks: the tools and techniques of information warfare’, IBM System Journal, vol. 37 no.1, pp. 106-114.

Goheen, M & Fiske, R 2007, Computer security penetration exercise, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Kephart, J, Sorkin, G, Chess, M, & White, R 2010, ‘Fighting computer viruses,’ Scientific American, vol. 277 no. 5, pp. 88-93.

Raymond, S 2003, The new hacker’s dictionary, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

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