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Ethics are moral philosophies that guide every society. These philosophies differ from one society to another such that what is regarded as good in one society may be regarded as bad in another (Mizzoni 8). The world has experienced technological revolution over the last couple of decades. Technology has advanced rapidly during this period compared to any other time in the past. Technology has made life easier for most people by helping raise living standards. Problem solving has also been made easier by technology.
While technology has generally caused positive impacts on the lives of human beings, it has also caused some negative impacts. There are some people who have taken advantage of technology to commit crimes. This has led to the emergence of the term “cybercrime”. This essay discusses the impacts that technology has on human beings, cybercrimes and the crimes that are committed against mankind using modern technology.
Cybercrimes and cyber-related crimes
Cybercrime is a term used in technology ethics to refer to the wrong doings that are facilitated by technology. These are crimes that are aimed at harming an individual or a group, and they are executed using modern technology (Kshetri 4). Cybercrime is a kind of crime that has been growing fast, causing a lot of concern among law makers. A wide range of crimes can be committed using technology.
Computers are the gadgets that are mostly used to commit cyber crimes targeted on individuals. However, computers can also be targets. Cybercrimes may have devastating effects on the national economic health or to the national security of a country (Kshetri 56).
As a result, issues of cybercrime and cyber related crimes have come to the spotlight over the last couple of years. Governments have now started recognizing cybercrimes as crimes that are punishable under the law. In the past, cybercrimes were not recognized as serious crimes like they are today. In addition, cybercrime has of late become an important topic in the study of technology ethics owing to its rapidly increasing significance.
Among the common cybercrimes are financial theft and espionage. These are crimes that are committed by both governmental agents and non- governmental agents, internationally or nationally. Other unethical behaviors that are associated with cybercrimes include copyright infringement, pornography, as well as child grooming among others.
These are crimes that have the ability to cause serious effects on affected individuals. It is for this reason that security personnel all over the world have taken the responsibility of curbing the vice. Laws regarding the same have been made stricter (Kshetri 60).
It is imperative to note that there are three main types of cyber-related crime that are currently recognized by the law in the United States of America. The first one is the category of crimes that are executed using a computer as a weapon. In such crimes, the perpetrator uses the computer in order to commit a crime on another subject, usually an individual or a group of individuals. The second type of crime is the one that uses a computer as an accessory to the crime.
Here, the perpetrator gets access to the crime he or she intends to commit with the help of a computer. An example of this is a case where a criminal uses a computer to access data of a company, which he then uses to his benefit. The third type of cyber-related crime is the one that targets the computer itself; the harm is directed to the computer itself (Kshetri 56). Examples of such crimes include theft of a computer and installation of malware that destroys the computer among other crimes.
Cyber and cyber-related crimes have ethical consequences in any society. The crimes influence the behavior of individuals, as well as their actions. For instance, pornography is a crime that can be associated with cyber technology. This is an issue that is likely to have a negative effect on the society.
It is, specifically, likely to have more impact on the young children who get access to pornography. Further, children grooming is also negative on the society. It leads to intimidation of children and threatening them to participate in vices such as sexual activities and child prostitution among others.
It also encourages child trafficking, an issue that has concerned the globe for a long time. Incidents of copyright infringement have increased with advancement in technology (Brenner 25). Many people are now able to reproduce the works of others and sell the works as theirs with the help of computers and the aid of computer programs. This is an ethical problem that has affected musicians and film actors, making them lose a lot of revenue.
Instances of cybercrime
There are a number of cybercrimes instances that have been identified before. The major instance among them is fraud of finances from another person’s account. There are some people who pose data in computer networks so that they can gain from the data. For instance, an employee who wants to get money from the company illegally or wants to get money for another employee may present false information into the database so that the money is directed to his or her account.
There are other people who steal money from customers. Such people access bank accounts of the customers and defraud them. This is a crime that is very common nowadays. It has actually increased as methods of money transfer advance to online transfer. People get credit card information, access the accounts and defraud the accounts (Michel 40).
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Hacking is the other common cybercrime. This is situation where one is able to identify the weaknesses of a system, get access to it and use the data for his own benefit. This is common in companies, where a company’s website is hacked by competitors to get information that they take advantage of to overcome the competition.
Malware software programs may be used to facilitate hacking. Hacking of business organization websites is the most common type of hacking that is experienced today. Criminals try to break down codes that are used to protect information to access the information and use it to their advantage. However, hackers may not always be criminals. There are ethical hackers who are legal and are hired by a company for purposes of protecting its data. Only illegal hackers are referred to as unethical hackers (Brenner 33).
Ways of preventing cybercrimes
Cybercrimes are important and their impact cannot be ignored. These crimes cause a lot of harm to the affected party. It is, therefore, important to find ways of preventing cybercrimes. One of the ways that one can use to evade cybercrimes is installing computer anti- virus software.
This prevents the computer from being attacked by the malwares used by hackers to break down websites. Other security software programs such as spam blockers and encryptions can also be used. These software are important for preventing data from being accessed illegally. Firewalls, as well as intrusion detection systems can also be of great significance in a bid to protect hacking of data. Crimes such as fraud and hacking are reduced immensely once data is protected from being accessed illegally (Brenner 67).
Laws that address cybercrimes should also be enforced. People who are caught trying to commit cybercrimes should be dealt with accordingly. This is important since it will deter cyber criminals from executing crimes out of fear of the legal consequences for their unlawful actions.
Technological advancements have been on the increase since the last century, resulting in a wide range of benefits to the society. For instance, technology has helped improve the living standards of people, improve communication, and increase business efficiency among other benefits. The cost of communication has also decreased significantly.
However, technology is regarded as a two sided sword, whereby it has led to both positive and negative effects. Some of the demerits that are associated with technology include the increased cases of cybercrimes over the last couple of decades. However, the crimes can be prevented by taking protective measures such as installing anti-virus programs and firewalls. Successful prevention of cybercrimes will be a huge stride towards making technology a good experience for everyone.
Brenner, Susan W. Cybercrime: Criminal Threats from Cyberspace. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2010. Print.
Kshetri, Nir. The Global Cybercrime Industry: Economic, Institutional and Strategic Perspectives. Heidelberg: Springer, 2010. Print.
Michel, Dion. “Corruption, Fraud and Cybercrime as Dehumanizing Phenomena.” International Journal of Social Economics 38.5 (2011): 466 – 476. Print.
Mizzoni, John. Ethics: The Basics. West Sussex, U.K: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. Print.