Of Computer Security and Ethics: The Basics

by Shaleen S
Everyone is expected to follow certain norms laid out by the propriety. People expect people to be ethical. But are they really when it comes to computer usage. Actually, the real question is, that are they aware that they have to be ethical. A research was conducted in a sample of 245 university students from University Technology Malaysia (UTM) by Maslin Masrom and Zuraini Ismail, which determined that computer science majors were more aware about that fact than the non-majors.  The dependency and the usage of computers for the purpose of education in universities has become cardinal. It has allowed to manage different things in a more better and efficient way. It cannot be denied that they are not important.

So when it comes to management information systems, it becomes critical that one is aware about being ethical and and also has the necessary knowledge about the security. The results that came out of the research articulated that university’s were the least secure and most susceptible to viruses. The most common ways that viruses seep through are peer to peer file sharing, bypassing security protocols and accessing inappropriate websites, and copyright infringements.

In Layman terms, computer security is defined as the protection of system files, and the data. Recently, threats to security have evolved and devolved in various forms such as phishing, spams, stealing of data for profit, blackmail etc. Therefore there came an invention of new technologies to protect against these threats. These are most commonly known to us as anti-viruses and firewalls. It is also a good habit to backup the data, as it may be lost inadvertently or due to viruses.

Computer ethics may be defined as the justification of the technologies one is using and the policies enforcing those. It can be classified into 3 basic criteria. Responsibility, ownership, and privacy. Responsibility means that the data is accurate and is available timely. Ownership has to do with who has the legal rights to the data. And lastly privacy has to do with who can view and access the data. Computer ethics is widely known as information technology ethics and deals with ethical issues coming out of information technology (IT) and information systems (IS).

Based on the research it could be safely said that computer awareness and computer ethics are important but there is a disparity of the knowledge about it between computer science majors and non majors. The research also revealed that some students were not at all trained on the issues of computer security and ethics. Hence, to fully understand the computer culture, and since lot of things depend on it too, it has become quite a necessity to spread the awareness; for a safe , efficient, and better future.



Masrom, M.; Ismail, Z.; , “Computer security and computer ethics awareness: A component of management information system,” Information Technology, 2008. ITSim 2008. International Symposium on , vol.3, no., pp.1-7, 26-28 Aug. 2008
doi: 10.1109/ITSIM.2008.4632042
URL: http://0-ieeexplore.ieee.org.opac.library.csupomona.edu/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=4632042&isnumber=4631966


3 thoughts on “Of Computer Security and Ethics: The Basics”

  1. That’s kind of scary that universities came out as the least secure. Did the article say how the the degree of security was determined? I would like to know what criteria they used.

  2. There do exist security flaws even as systems are updated to the latest version. Someone will find that open hole. Like you mentioned, a virus can travel easily through peer to peer services and implant itself into on the host platform. Its having the correct usage rights management and practicing better security measures are what could improve this.

  3. I thought that it was nice of the university to provide free wifi for students but i was not reading the fine print that said use it at your own risk! after reading this article i would think twice to share something over free wifi.

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