Ethics Of Kevin Mitnick And Computer Hacking Philosophy Essay

This dialogue paper is about Kevin Mitnick and Laptop computer Hacking. It is divided into two sections. The first half discusses the lifetime of Kevin Mitnick in relation to laptop computer hacking. It highlights the ethical factors involved all through his assorted laptop computer crimes, police investigations, arrests and imprisonments. It moreover applies ethical theories to debate the FBI attempt to seize and prosecute Mitnick. The second a part of this paper discusses the operate of an knowledgeable software program program//software program engineer with regard to hacking. It discusses how such an engineer ought to make use of his/her information and expertise to have an effect on the society. It appears to be into the completely totally different potential roles and suggests the operate that such an knowledgeable engineer must play.

Ethical Factors

The case of Kevin Mitnick was a controversial one which brings to light many ethical factors. These could also be seen from the easiest way Mitnick illegal hacked into laptop computer packages, all the way in which all the way down to the easiest way the FBI and the Federal Authorities tried to hint him down. Among the many factors are talked about beneath:

1) Kevin Mitnick grew up with out the possibility to have an amazing moral teaching and progress on ethical values. Mitnick grew up a lonely little one. His dad minimize up collectively together with his mum when he was three years outdated. His mother then wanted to work as a waitress in an effort to assist them. He was an solely teenager being raised by a mother who put in prolonged harried days on a sometimes-erratic schedule. That seen Mitnick as a teen on his private nearly all his waking hours. He was his private little one sitter [1]. This uncovered him to the ills of the society at a very youthful age. Rising up in a San Fernando Valley group gave him the whole of Los Angeles to find. This didn’t give him the possibility to have right moral teaching and buy good habits and character traits needed to develop to be an moral specific particular person. Moral teaching and progress could also be crucial throughout the life of every specific particular person. An moral specific particular person is actually disposed to do the most effective issue [2]. Since Kevin lacked the required parental teaching needed to develop to be an moral specific particular person, he was basically disposed to do the flawed points. This drastically affected the alternatives he made in life. He was certain to make quite a lot of flawed decisions when it involved ethical points. On the age of twelve, he already made the first of such decisions as he found to a way to journey free all by way of the whole increased L.A. area. This was a big step on his freeway to turning into a laptop hacker. Had Kevin Mitnick had right parental and moral upbringing, he more than likely would have turned out to be a particular specific particular person, free of laptop computer crimes.

2) Was it ethical for Kevin Mitnick to utilize his laptop computer expertise to invade on the autonomy of various folks and organisations? Mitnick hacked into quite a lot of laptop computer packages of various companies and organizations, thereby breaching their autonomy. Autonomy is among the many core values in every society. Everyone has the most effective to benefit from autonomy. Kevin primarily used social engineering to get the data needed to hack into these laptop computer packages. In an interview with CNN in October 2005, Mpppppppppitnick outlined social engineering as follows “Social Engineering is using manipulation, have an effect on and deception to get a person, a trusted insider inside an organization, to regulate to a request, and the request is often to launch information or to hold out some kind of movement merchandise that benefits that attacker. It could very properly be one factor as simple as talking over the cellphone to at least one factor as difficult as getting a aim to go to an web web site, which exploits a technical flaw and permits the hacker to take over the “[3]. Mitnick used the paintings of deception to appreciate his targets. He hacked into laptop computer packages of quite a lot of innocent organizations inflicting a number of sorts of damages. A lot of the affected organizations have been pressured to spend loads of money to easily detect how he was able to hack into the laptop system. They nonetheless went on to spend extra cash on creating increased security choices. All these have been attributable to Mitnick invading on their autonomy. Though Mitnick might declare that a variety of his misdeeds have been motivated by curiosity, the precise truth stays that the actions he took have been illegal, and that he devoted invasions of privateness. This was very unethical.

three) Was it ethical for John Markoff to publish many tales on Kevin Mitnick with out the required proof to once more it up? John Markoff, an excellent journalist wrote quite a lot of articles and books on Kevin Mitnick containing completely totally different tales, a variety of which the sources weren’t cited. Markoff wrote articles similar to “Combining technical wizardry with the ages-old guile of a grafter, Kevin Mitnick is a laptop programmer run amok” (the New York Events, 7/4/94) and a e e book in 1991 known as, Cyberpunk. These tales have been used to indicate the image of Mitnick in to Public Enemy amount definitely certainly one of our on-line world [1]. Markoff primarily wrote and printed these tales for his private non-public financial obtain. He turned a millionaire by writing false tales of about Mitnick with out relevant proof. Among the many most well-known tales have been these which Markoff claimed Mitnick had wire tapped the FBI and likewise broken into the pc programs at North American Air Safety Command (NORAD) [1]. These tales weren’t backed up with proof and have been used to paint a foul image of Mitnick, whereas Markoff gained financially. All these have been achievable because of most people trusted tales printed throughout the pages of the New York Events. This actually modified the world’s notion of the hazard Mitnick represented [1]. Mitnick then turned one of many essential feared males within the US. Markoff was merely using Mitnick as a way to an end, which as financial obtain. Markoff used the similar strategy Mitnick used on people, which was deception. Markoff used the act of deception to develop to be very well-known and rich. He did not take care of case of Mitnick universally, like he dealt with totally different tales. He seen the possibility to study financially and exploited it. This was truly unethical. Markoff was an knowledgeable journalist whose obligation to most people was to hunt the fact and report it. His obligation was to be honest, truthful and courageous in gathering, reporting and decoding information. That’s what was anticipated journalists, significantly revered ones like Markoff. He positively failed on this obligation.

4) Have been the FBI and the Federal Authorities ethical in they methodology they dealt with the Kevin Mitnick case? The best way wherein they dealt with the case of Mitnick was very controversial. His remedy was not widespread, nevertheless partial. The FBI and the Federal Authorities did not take care of totally different cases of laptop computer hackers within the similar strategy. Mitnick was dealt with like a terrorist or violent authorized. There have been many points which the FBI did of their attempt to arrest Mitnick that raised eyebrows. His residence was searched with a clear search warrant, he was thrown into solitary confinements for months, he was denied not solely bail nevertheless a bail listening to and was pressured to spend years combating to accumulate the federal authorities’s proof, so the court docket docket appointed authorized skilled may put collectively his safety [1]. This was not the easiest way totally different laptop computer hackers have been dealt with. Solely terrorists and violent criminals have been dealt with this fashion. Mitnick was solely a mere laptop computer hacker whose crimes have been simple crimes of laptop computer trespass and making free cellphone calls. It was further identical to the Federal Authorities have been trying to make an occasion of him not based mostly totally on the crimes he devoted. His case had been over hyped by the media to a level have been the federal authorities could not afford to free. This may increasingly want been why they did all they may to grab Mitnick. He was positioned in solitary confinement because of laws enforcements officers happy a select that Mitnick had the facility to ‘start a nuclear warfare by whistling proper right into a payphone’ [4]. This, in widespread sense sounds pretty ridiculous. Nonetheless this was the extent to which the FBI went throughout the Mitnick case. This was positively non-universal and partial. Laptop computer hackers weren’t often dealt with this fashion. This truly poses an ethical downside.

5) Was Tsumoto Shimomura involvement throughout the seize of Kevin Mitnick ethical? Shimomura helped the FBI trace and seize Mitnick for his private non-public satisfaction. “On Christmas Day, 1994, a hacker launched a sophisticated ‘IP Spoofing’ assault in opposition to Tsumoto Shimomura’s pc programs in San Diego. The assault was launched from in San Francisco, the Toad Hall laptop computer owned by John Gilmore, a founding employee of Photo voltaic Microsystems. By an uncanny coincidence, Shimomura spent the day at Toad Hall collectively together with his buddy Julia Menapace. Shimomura’s pursuit of the hacker led to pc programs in Marin County the place Shimomura’s stolen data have been found on The Correctly, Denver, San Jose and ultimately to Kevin Mitnick, the fugitive hacker, in Raleigh, North Carolina[5]. This assault drastically angered Shimomura as he was moreover a laptop skilled and may have felt embarrassed that even his private laptop computer might very properly be hacked into. Shimomura helped the FBI monitor Mitnick down decrease than two months after then. As a laptop skilled, Shimomura ought to have recognized about Mitnick and his laptop computer crimes. He would have recognized the FBI had been trying to hint Mitnick down with out success. Nonetheless he under no circumstances supplied to help. If Shimomura was contemplating of the upper good of the society, he would have helped the FBI sooner than his private laptop computer was attacked. Shimomura took this assault by Mitnick as a non-public downside. He did not help the FBI innocently, nevertheless to appreciate his private non-public satisfaction of apprehending the one who attacked his pc programs. Had Mitnick not attacked Shimomura’s pc programs, Shimomura will more than likely not have helped the FBI monitor Mitnick down. Shimomura must have been enthusiastic about doing the most effective issue fairly than merely reaching his private non-public happiness. Moreover, it is nonetheless unclear whether or not or not Shimomura’s involvements adopted the proper licensed procedures [6]. John Markoff and Tsutomu Shimomura every participated as de facto authorities brokers in Kevin Mitnick’s arrest, in violation of every federal laws and journalistic ethics.

6) Was it ethical for the Federal Authorities to make a model new Federal Laws which was nonsystematic and non-comprehensive after which value Kevin Mitnick beneath it? The model new Federal laws made it a felony offense to attain entry to an inside state laptop computer neighborhood for authorized capabilities. What is the precise question proper right here? Is it about having access to an inside state neighborhood or is it regarding the crime in transferring into any laptop computer neighborhood for authorized capabilities. A superb laws should not be merely reactive to a selected incident, neither is it one which’s swiftly handed because of it happens to include distinguished specific particular person fairly than atypical residents [2]. That’s what occurred throughout the Mitnick case. The model new laws was specific to the inside state laptop computer networks. The Federal Authorities made this laws swiftly in order to have the power to value Kevin Mitnick with it. The laws was neither full nor systematic. It did not cowl totally different programs of the society which moreover had laptop computer networks that could be hacked into. The passing of this new laws positively raises an ethical downside. It solely protected the inside states laptop computer networks nevertheless not famous the rest of the alternative laptop computer networks throughout the society.

Ethical Theories

There have been many debates on the ethical habits of the FBI on this case. Many people say the FBI acted ethically whereas others disagree. Diverse ethical theories could also be utilized to search out out whether or not or not the FBI was proper in making an attempt to grab and prosecute Kevin Mitnick.

Consequence Based Theories (Utilitarianism):

Consequence-based ethical theories consider producing fascinating outcomes. Making use of those theories to this case, one can conclude that the FBI was proper of their attempt to seize and prosecute Kevin Mitnick. Utilitarians argue penalties of the most effective number of folks, or the majority, in a given society deserves consideration in moral deliberation [2]. Mitnick was a laptop hacker who gained entry into quite a lot of laptop computer packages belonging to assorted organizations and establishments for illegal capabilities. He was a security menace to any laptop computer neighborhood within the US. No one may predict which laptop neighborhood he’ll hack into subsequent or which information he’ll tamper with subsequent. Capturing and prosecuting him launched satisfaction to the overwhelming majority of parents within the US. Looking at it from the angle of Act Utilitarianism, “Act X, is morally permissible if penalties produced by doing X end result inside the most effective good for the most effective number of people affected by X” [2]. The important degree proper right here is the most effective good for the most effective number of people. Almost all of People are affected by laptop computer networks each straight or circuitously. Individuals who private laptop computer networks or work in organizations having laptop computer networks are straight affected by any harm Mitnick inflicts on such a neighborhood. Organisations have assorted varieties of information outlets or processed by laptop computer packages. Any compromise to such information may worth loads of damages by means of money and recognition. Having the reassurance that such data is safe or that anybody who makes an try and illegal entry it is prosecuted by the laws brings some sense of satisfaction and happiness to such an organization or specific particular person. All totally different people usually are not immediately affected as majority has their data saved in assorted group and states laptop computer packages. These laptop computer packages preserve databases of various varieties of data similar to cellphone funds, tax funds and far more. Having the reassurance that these databases are secure or that anyone illegal hacker is dropped at justice positively brings a means of satisfaction and happiness to the parents involved which is nearly all of people within the US on this case. Subsequently by making use of act utilitarianism to the case of Mitnick, the FBI have been proper in making an attempt to grab and prosecute Mitnick as this launched happiness to the overwhelming majority of parents dwelling throughout the Usa. This fulfils the circumstances in Consequence based theories.

Duty-Based Ethical Theories (Deontology):

Making use of Duty Based ethical theories to the case of Kevin Mitnick, one can argue that the FBI was proper in making an attempt to grab and prosecute Mitnick. Duty based ethical theories base morality on concept of obligation or obligations folks must 1 one different. Morality must under no circumstances be grounded in penalties of human actions. It had nothing to do with the promotion of happiness or attaining fascinating penalties [2]. The question proper right here is whether or not or not it was the duty of the FBI to goal to grab and prosecute Mitnick. The Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI) is laws enforcement and residential intelligence firm charged with defending and defending the US in opposition to and abroad threats; upholding and imposing the authorized authorized tips of the US; and providing administration and authorized justice firms to Federal, State, Municipal and Worldwide companies and companions [7]. It was clearly the duty of the FBI to protect the US from people like Mitnick. Mitnick was a laptop hacker with lots expertise that he posed a security menace to the US. It was rumored that Mitnik hacked into the pc programs of NORAD in Colorado Springs. NORAD was part of a Navy Safety System throughout which any hurt or compromise to its information might need catastrophic outcomes. It was moreover rumored that Mitnick had wiretapped the FBI. Though proof for these allegations under no circumstances surfaced, it was obvious that Mitnick had develop to be a security menace. The FBI owed the parents of the US the duty or obligation to hint down people like Kevin Mitnick. Though the way in which throughout which the FBI went about this obligation is questionable, that does not take away the reality that it was their obligation to the parents of the US. If we consider the way in which throughout which the FBI went regarding the Mitnick case, one can say that it was unethical. Duty-based ethical theories are based mostly totally on the grounds that persons are rational, autonomous brokers and ends in themselves and by no means as a way to ends. Kevin Mitnick was dealt with as a way to an end. As a result of media hype that had developed on Mitnick and his laptop computer crimes, the FBI wanted to apprehend Mitnick by all means for the sake of their recognition. The FBI did not take care of the case of Mitnick universally. Totally different laptop computer hackers weren’t dealt with this fashion. In the middle of the case of Mitnick, many points peculiar to his case have been completed. These involved searching his house with a clear search warrant, formulation of a model new Federal laws and charging him with it, inserting him throughout the hole-solitary confinement, denying him the most effective to a bail listening to and plenty of further. The FBI did not technique totally different cases of illegal laptop computer hacking in comparable type. Beneath Rule Deontology, similar tips ought to use universally to all people. This was positively not the case for Kevin Mitnick. Mitnick was not dealt with universally like totally different laptop computer hackers. He was used as a way to an end, which was to uphold the recognition of the FBI.

Though the way in which throughout which the FBI went about this obligation is questionable, it would not take away the reality that it was their obligation to the parents of the US. Since we’re considering whether or not or not the FBI have been proper in making an attempt to grab and prosecute Mitnick and by no means the procedures the FBI utilized in reaching this, one can conclude that the FBI have been proper. This was an obligation which the FBI owed to the parents of the US of America.

Character Based Ethical Theories (Benefit Ethics):

Making use of Character Based Ethical theories to the case of Kevin Mitnick is type of powerful. These theories consider requirements having to do with the character progress of individuals and their acquisition of wonderful character traits from the types of habits they develop. Nonetheless these theories have increased likelihood of being carried out in a society that is homogeneous fairly than a heterogeneous society. In fashionable America, which is far more heterogeneous than classical Greek society, we have a variety of views about which ideas and values are most important [2]. Kevin Mitnick grew up throughout the fashionable America. As I recognized earlier, Mitnick grew up a lonely little one. He was raised by his mother whom usually labored prolonged hours to have the power to assist them. He did not have right teaching and acquisition of wonderful habits and character traits for him to appreciate correct moral virtues (strengths and weaknesses) as required in a persona based ethical system. These ethical packages tend to not flourish in society throughout which Mitnick grew up which areas emphasis on the importance of specific particular person autonomy and specific particular person rights. An moral specific particular person is actually disposed to do the most effective issue. Subsequently, one can say that Mitnick was basically disposed to do the flawed issue. Subsequently it is powerful to make use of character based ethical theories to debate whether or not or not the FBI was proper in making an attempt to grab and prosecute Kevin Mitnick. These ethical theories place emphasis on moral progress and moral education based mostly totally on homogeneous group necessities. This doesn’t apply to the case of Mitnick, because of he grew up throughout the fashionable America which is a heterogeneous group.

The Place of a Expert Software program program//Utility Engineer

The operate of an knowledgeable software program program//software program engineer is a very essential one. The info and expertise inside their disposal provides them the potential to entry and manipulate assorted ranges of information. This may increasingly very properly be used positively or negatively. Don Gotterbarn (2001) believes software program program engineers and their teams have essential options to do good or set off harm, to permit others to do good or set off harm and to have an effect on others to do good or set off harm [2]. Loads of such expert engineers use their information to hack into assorted sorts of laptop computer packages for various capabilities. Some do it to appreciate some kind of financial obtain and others do it for his or her very personal non-public satisfaction. This should not be the case. Expert Engineers have an obligation to do good in every situation. They have to adjust to the Code of Ethics of the expert group to which they’re affiliated. This Code of Ethics always discourages every kind of ill-doing and tends to promote the upper good of the society. Implementation of this code of ethics is often the difficulty. Though there are documented disciplinary actions in opposition to people who breach any of these tips, it happens very not typically. This offers lots of these professionals the liberty to do what ever they want.

Attempting further into the lifetime of Kevin Mitnick, I found that he now runs Mitnick Security Consulting LLC, a laptop security consultancy. The company presents an entire fluctuate of firms to help firms defend their useful property [8]. Mitnick has moreover written quite a lot of books similar to “The Art work of Intrusion” and “The Art work of Deception” [6]. These books help educate readers on the various methods hackers use to appreciate their targets and counsel other ways to guard in opposition to such assaults. Based mostly totally on his earlier life kind, Mitnick talked about the various methods he used to attain his laptop computer crimes. His agency specialised in providing security choices. Various organisations and folks employed the businesses of his agency to analyse their laptop computer networks and implement increased security choices. Mitnick moreover presents speeches in assorted seminars and workshops everywhere in the world. He goes spherical trying to show people on the dangers in laptop computer hacking. He moreover attends quite a lot of radio and television interviews. He is trying his best to utilize his laptop computer expertise to impact the world positively. He is now doing the exact reverse of what his former life kind. That’s the operate anticipated of an knowledgeable software program program//software program engineer.

The lifetime of Kevin David Mitnick is an environment friendly occasion that portrays two completely totally different roles for such professionals. The first a part of his life was a hostile operate the place he used his information to appreciate his private selfish ambitions whereas inflicting fairly a bit to interrupt to assorted organizations. The second a part of his life is a activity throughout which he is making a optimistic have an effect on to the society at huge. On this operate, an knowledgeable software program program//software program engineer makes use of his information and expertise to show the society on the various methods utilized by hackers and the way in which to protect in opposition to them. The engineer produces assorted sorts of security choices to permit organizations secure confidential information and makes many further optimistic contributions to the society.

Tsutomu Shimomura is one different good occasion of a laptop expert who has been affecting his society positively. Shimomura has moreover labored throughout the area of laptop computer security evaluation. He has consulted with numerous authorities companies on security and laptop computer crime factors. In 1992 he testified sooner than a Congressional Committee chaired by Marketing consultant Edward Markey on factors surrounding the dearth of privateness and security in cellular telephones. In February 1995 he helped quite a lot of on-line service and Net companies monitor down laptop computer outlaw Kevin Mitnick, who had stolen software program program and email correspondence from Shimomura’s pc programs [9]. As we are going to see, Shimomura even helped the FBI monitor down and seize Mitnick, the notorious laptop computer hacker. Shimomura has affected his society positively on quite a lot of occasions. This as soon as extra is an occasion of what is anticipated of an knowledgeable software program program//software program engineer.

Laptop computer hacking for illegal capabilities is a felony offense and is ethical flawed. It should be discouraged at every diploma throughout the society. Expert software program program//software program engineers must not engage in such practices, nevertheless use their expertise to promote the upper good of the society. They’ve essential options to do good or set off harm. Nonetheless their obligation to the society is to utilize their information to do good always.


Kevin Mitnick is a fame that may positively not be forgotten for a couple of years to return again. He’ll probably be remembered as one of many essential notorious laptop computer hackers in American Historic previous. Though most of his laptop computer crimes weren’t malicious and by no means on safety-critical packages, most of his actions have been unethical. He violated the core values of happiness and autonomy. The FBI was positively correct in making an attempt to grab and prosecute him, regardless that a variety of their actions have been moreover unethical. They dealt with Mitnick as a way to an end and by no means as an end himself. The present lifestyle of Kevin Mitnick is an environment friendly occasion of the ultimate operate an knowledgeable software program program//software program engineer must play by means of utilizing their information and expertise just about hacking. This use of this information and expertise should be for the upper good of the society.