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Cyber Ethics

Updated on October 5, 2016

Whereas ethics are generally referred to a term applied to human conducts and the standards within, cyber ethics applies to conduct and standards on the internet usage level (Microsoft, 2012) Cyber Ethics is a code referring to behavior while using the internet. Cyber ethics defines what acceptable behavior for the internet is. (Norton website, Cyber Ethics, 2007) When it comes to determining if an action is ethical while online, there must be a firm belief that the actions are performed with good intentions or having the moral value of doing good.

Cyber ethics is a term used to define internet usage, which encompasses a large scope of potential problems and situations individuals will be presented with on the internet. Cyber ethics encompasses copyright infringement and what is acceptable for research purposes. It is perfectly acceptable to use the internet for research purposes where information is cited, but it is not acceptable to copy information found on the internet and using it as your own material. It is against cyber ethics also to download music or other files illegally. (Norton Website, 2007) It is not acceptable under cyber ethics to harass individuals or talk to strangers in a rude or harassing manner.

Proving that we have cyber ethics is knowing whether what we do is right or wrong. When a person commits an action online, the reasoning behind the action is the sole determinant of whether or not the action is ethical. Because cyber ethics is not a law, rather a belief of doing right or wrong, it is based on a moral value or right-doings. Given the scenario where the student wanted to be an ethical hacker, one must recognize the fact that cyber ethics is not law. (Ed-U Kate Productions, 2011) The certified ethical hacker took it upon himself to perform a hack on the schools network. The individual successfully hacked into the schools network and broke into the school’s computer servers. Because cyber ethics controls what is “right” and “wrong”, from the presented actions thus far, we can say that his actions were unethical. Further examining the situation, however, the opinion can change drastically.

After hacking into the school’s network, he contacted the school’s network administrator immediately to report that he had broken into the servers. He reported to the administrator the vulnerabilities that he found and reported his actions in full. My assumption of this scenario is that he wanted to attempt to express his knowledge of hacking in a physical attack on a network. He did not alter the network in any manner, and he reported what he had done immediately to the administrator. By performing these actions, he has committed a cyber-crime in the manner that he has invaded the privacy of the school’s network servers. (Stone, 1999) Although the student had performed a cyber crime, he did so taking into consideration Cyber Ethics. He did not alter the servers and he reported his actions. Taking this into consideration, his actions, although illegal, were ethical.

For an individual to be an ethical hacker, they must attach a security system on behalf of its owner in order to determine vulnerabilities. (Tech Target, 2003) Because the individual did not have prior approval from the school’s administrator, this could be viewed as a violation of law. The reasoning behind the attack, however, was an ethical reason aimed at attacking and determining the vulnerabilities of the school system for the individuals own educational benefit as well as the benefit for the school. I do not believe his actions will follow him later in life when he goes for a security clearance unless the school’s administrator reported the hacking actions to law enforcement. Given the situation, the school’s administrator may be thankful that he performed these actions and use the information gained as a way to enhance the school’s network.


Stone, David M. (1999) Computer Hacking. University Labratory High School; Urbana, IL.

Retrieved Feb. 9, 2012 from

Ed-U Kate Productions. (2011) Cyber Ethics. Retrieved Feb. 9, 2012 from

Microsoft Security Website. (2012) Cyber Ethics. Retrieved Feb. 9, 2012 from

Norton website. (2007) Cyber Ethics. Retrieved Feb. 9, 2012 from

Target Tech. (2003) Ethical Hacker. Retrieved Feb. 9, 2012 from


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