Viruses and Internet Security
Since the creation and development of the Internet, hackers and intelligent software developers have been able to spread viruses that cause great harm to corporations and households. The Internet has been the gateway for hackers into their journey of obstruction. For example, through the loopholes of Microsoft’s IIS services on its server operating system packages, hackers have been able to open “backdoors” into some of the most complex intranet firewall protected networks of the world. Once the access has been made available, hackers have the opportunity to manipulate data, retrieve confidential data, and destroy systems containing critical data with the help of their developed viruses. The fact of the matter is, hackers and other cyber criminals cause great amounts of financial damage to corporations and other smaller scaled victims. The ethical question to consider when dealing with virus control is: Is it unethical to take extreme measures to avoid hacker attacks, even when we are taking away people’s autonomy and obstructing their privacy?
What is a Computer Virus?
In order to consider the ethical issues involved with Internet security, we need to understand exactly how computer viruses work and how they can affect their victims. A computer virus is a small, yet highly sophisticated, piece of software that attaches itself onto real programs. Once the program is executed, the virus is brought to life in the system. Computer viruses are called viruses because they share some of the traits as biological viruses. Biological viruses use humans as their mode of transportation and infection, while computer viruses use home computers, servers, and handheld devices.
At a microscopic level, there are quite a few similarities that make a “virus” such a perfect name for the technological nuisances. A biological virus is not a living organism. It is a fragment of DNA that uses a cell to cause its damage. Once inserted into a human cell, the DNA virus uses the powers of the cell to reproduce itself and spread within the body. A computer virus has to “piggyback” onto an existing program to use the execution of the program as a transport mechanism to spread within the machine it is infecting.
Computer viruses were first introduced into the cyber-world during the late 80’s. The spread of personal computers, the popular usage of “bulletin boards”, and the creation of the floppy disk are historically the primary reasons for the spread of computer viruses. Now that our computer systems, processor speeds, RAM, compilers, software languages, and bandwidth technologies have improved, computer virus developers have found faster and more sophisticated mechanisms to use for destruction. So why do people take the time to create these nasty cyber infections?
Why Are Viruses Created?
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