In any given setup, an acceptable code of conduct is always emphasized. Many people and entities have become victims of unethical computer use; this thread comes fro people with ill motives. This vice has lately exposed the internet users to unprecedented mischievous tricks of cyber criminals.
The act has created various problems, controversies and is now being viewed by many as unethical. This essay will endeavor to scrutinize recent issues in the media such as newspapers and magazines about cases related to the internet fraud, spam, identity theft, and hacking, among others.
Four Indicted in Giant College Spam Operation
The first case under consideration involved two brothers from Giant College who were charged with crimes related to generating e-mail spams intended for college students. The accused allegedly sold products worth millions of shillings to students using the trick. According to the acting U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri, the plot affected almost all the colleges and Universities in the United States.
These brothers are said to have designed a program that obtained e-mail addresses and used them to unlawfully access the affected students’ accounts. They then sent them spam e-mails about the sale of their products such as digital cameras and pepper sprays (Gross, para. 1). They lied to their targets about their products and ownership of their company and made a lot of profit through this scheme by buying goods in large quantities and reselling them.
The practice cost the affected colleges a fortune. The administration also had to use large sums of money to restore their computer networks that were affected as a result of the hacking. They also had to install expensive defensive measures to protect them from any future attacks. In my opinion, this action acted as a wake-up call for administrators of colleges and companies that they ought to ensure that their networks were safe from such intrusions.
Sky News admits two counts of computer hacking
In April 2012, it was reported that Sky News had acknowledged that it had approved several hacking incidences of e-mail accounts belonging to persons. It started in 2008 with a case involving a man known as John Darwin who dominated the British media headlines at that time. He disappeared during a trip and had faked his death to enable his wife Anne to obtain life insurance money.
He later presented himself to the police after five years with an allegation that he had lost his memory (Thomson, para. 4). A Sky News reporter was permitted to hack an e-mail account that Darwin was suspected to had been using. The hackers revealed his photo together with the wife and this implicated his wife as part of the fraudulent scheme. In another story, a man and a woman who were being investigated by Sky News for suspicion of pedophilic activities had their e-mail accounts hacked.
Although these journalists committed a crime, their actions were justified since it was in the interest of the public. This brought controversy about the extent by which a person can have a right to privacy. While other people viewed the actions of the journalist as unethical and amounting to interference with other people’s personal affairs, some held the opinion that the hackers were right. I agree with the latter.
Aurora woman charged with computer fraud and theft from AON Hewitt in Lincolnshire
In this case, a woman was charged with computer fraud and theft through fake identities. The accused woman had allegedly created bogus identities in the pensions department and was able to collect pension funds for the identities from a company based in Lincolnshire (Fuller, para. 1). According to Lincolnshire Police Officer, the woman identified as Tisa Crawford was accused of developing four fake identities and received payment of up to $100,000 through her savings bank account.
Computer expert who stole eight million people’s personal details for an ‘intellectual challenge’ jailed for two and half years
This last case involves a young man known as Edward Pearson who illegally obtained details of other people’s credit and debit cards using a trojan computer virus. He used the cards to commit a fraud worth approximately $88,000. He used the virus to download the details of the cards of his victims (Vinter, para. 3). The unbelievably talented high school student was able to obtain details such as passwords, postcodes, names, and dates of birth and used them on online payment services to obtain cash.
Analyzing the cases provided earlier in this paper, it is evident that there are numerous unethical practices in computer applications. Although some can be considered appropriate such as the case of the Sky News reporters, the losses that can be incurred as a result of these unprofessional and unethical activities can be very undesirable. No computer user can therefore be sure of personal safety against such crimes since everyone can be a target.
Since it is unknown when such activities can be justified, the best available option is to take protective measures against the imminent risks posed by the computer fraudsters. These measures include a wise choice of passwords for various types of accounts such as bank and e-mail accounts.
Other ways can also include using credit cards on secured websites, using internet security software to detect suspicious emails and avoiding computer use in public places such as libraries and hotels where details may be left and later retrieved by the hackers. In this way, our safety from computer frauds could be guaranteed by some margin of certainty.
Fuller, R 2008, ‘Aurora woman charged with computer fraud and theft from AON Hewitt in Lincolnshire’, Tribe Local Lincolnshire. Web.
Gross, G 2009, ‘Four Indicted in Giant College Spam Operation’, IDG News. Web.
Thomson, I 2012, ‘Sky News admits two counts of computer hacking’, The Register. Web.
Vinter, P 2012, ‘Computer expert who stole eight million people’s personal details for an ‘intellectual challenge’ jailed for two and half years’, The Daily Mail. Web.