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Kevin Mitnick Ethical Issues And Computer Hacking History Philosophy Essay

This report discounts in figuring out the honest issues of Kevin Mitnick and his computer hacking background and weather the accusations and they way FBI prosecuted his case were right or not. Each of the issue lifted would further be reviewed by using the three ethical theories of Consequence-Based, Duty-Based and Character-Based. After that the general role of an computer professional will also be described later on in this survey in terms of utilizing their knowledge and competence in conditions of hacking. Hence this article will be split into two parts the first part focusing on highlighting the honest issues and his prosecution and second would package with the computer professional part.

A detail information of his background of hacking is stated in the case scenario which is described later on in the survey. Firstly a brief advantages of ethics and its own three ideas would be reviewed which will make it easy to understand and to apply it on the Kevin Mitnick circumstance.

Ethics has been identified in lots of ways by different people over the annals including same great Greek philosophers such as Socrates, Aristotle, etc. Greeks mostly defined ethics as the study of that which was best for the infidel and the society. The simplest way to spell it out ethics would be differing and reflecting a human being character in terms of what is good or bad, right or incorrect, reasonable and unfair, responsible or irresponsible. It'll lead a human being moral character to maintain good conduct.

Ethics may also be referred as to what humans are suppose to do if they follow the prescribe standards of right and incorrect, which normally would lead him in terms of protection under the law, his advantage to modern culture, his commitments etc. Also ethics and can be referred as learning of moral persona of human being and developing it to a ethical standard. [1]

"Ethics starts when elements in a moral system issue. "[1]

Ethics is present in many forms in branches, literatures, eras, practices. Most of them following a root hub of ethics however the form of ethics which is highlighted and followed in our circumstance study for this report are what's called Cyberethics.


To understand the meaning of cyberethics a person should be aware of the word Cybertechnology. All the devices used in modern era in neuro-scientific cyber space such as hand held devices, computers, mainframes, networks and mainly the web can be termed as an integral part of Cybertechnology.

Cybertechnology in conditions refers to a broad spectrum of technology that runs from stand alone computers to the clustered of networked computing, information and communication solutions [2]

Different explanations of cyberethics is present mostly dealing with ethical problems with certain type of online activities for e. g. pornography, gaming etc. It could be referred as certain types of lawful restrictions which are not monitored by the judicial or regulation governing systems but from and individual himself which go beyond his moral ideals which would be different things from cyber law which includes to governed and watched by a regulating body.

Cyberethics can be explained as the field of applied ethics that examines moral, legal and communal issues in the development and use of Cybertechnology [2]

Ethical Theories

Since this statement must follow certain kind of ethical theories in order to identify the honest issues a brief description of every one of them has been mentioned below.


As the name suggest result based ideas produces the most suitable outcomes for it member morally. The providing of ultimate expectations for consequence of actions against that your moral decisions were evaluated is highlighted in this theory. The goodness or right discovered by outcome would be something regarded as Consequence-Based moral theory gives some results for someone. But whose results will be the question here that who should benefit from this end result? This debate has generally been provided by some big Utilitarian thinkers such as Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and Henry Sedgwick etc. The debate provided by them normally employs the theory that an act of some individual or a complete social insurance plan would be appropriate if its providing great benefits for most individuals which would be afflicted with the given insurance plan or from the provided act by the certain individual. Jeremy Bentham states that

Folks are influenced by their pursuits and their concerns, but their interests take precedence over their concerns, and their hobbies are carried out in accordance with how people view the results that might be involved with their passions. "Happiness" upon this account is defined as the maximization of pleasure and the minimization of pain. [3]

This form of ethics mainly explains that whatever happen sand outcome or end result is achieved should be in a favour of large numbers of population alternatively than that of a certain minority. They must provide happiness to everyone rather than just one individual who would be satisfied when a certain kind of act is conducted.


Duty based mostly Ethical theory is something which gives the concept of Deontology produced from the Greek term Deon this means Duty. The concept of Deontology is the procedure where goodness and right would be achieved by studying the function of a person or social coverage rather than the consequence which its leads too.

Immanuel Kant was one of the Deontological thinkers who always criticized Utilitarian thinkers declaring that morality must be defined as the work of an individual one to the other rather than outcome which can be produced whenever a certain specific performs a certain type of action. He said pleasure is not the matter in conditions of morality. He said that it was the motives and goals of a individual which made him to choose right or incorrect rather than the consequences.

W. D Ross another deontological thinker discussion is

Utilitarianism seems to simplify unduly our relationships to our fellows. It says, in effect, that the only morally significant relation in whom my neighborhood friends stand to me is that of being possible beneficiaries of my action. They are doing stand in this regards to me, and this relationship is morally significant. However they could also stand to me in the connection of promise to promisor, of creditor to debtor, of better half to partner, of fellow countryman to fellow countryman, and the like; and each one of these relations is the foundation of a. . . responsibility. . . [4]

So in a nutshell a Duty-based procedure leads us to a final result that morality of any human being would be carried out by the functions he perform which would justify if hes right or wrong. His Responsibility toward integrity, Justice, violence etc is what will be regarded as his moral duty rather than himself being happy if he tells a lay.


Character Founded theory reject the first two theories which concentrate on consequence or an work, instead this theory targets an individual persona and is also generally known as Virtue Ethics. Its main concerns are with specifics moral figure and dont rely on duties and repercussions.

It has a very old record which rages back to great Greek philosophers like Aristotle and Plato who argued that all person has to obtain a right virtue since each folks will have a certain virtue in him which is his strength or excellences that will lead towards a good or bad moral identity.

Virtue ethics is relatively which is often called as agent oriented somewhat the first two that are action focused or rule oriented. The main question of just what a virtue ethics would be follow in a certain type of situation where he or she must perform an action and weather the average person has to take action or not instead it would go the other way around seeking the information of what kind of person I will be?.

It is only through this notion [of virtue] that any common sense as to moral worthy of or its opposite is possible. . . Everything good that is not based on a morally good dispositionis only pretence and glittering misery [5]


Our case study targets a person called Kevin Mitnick who was the first hacker in computer to attain the FBI most needed detailed. He was imprisoned on Feb 15 1995 by FBI where he was accused of quantity of acts including breaking into personal computers and networks around the globe and modifying information which lead the business to get into new security actions and also for the charge of violations of his terms and conditions on the period of probation for his earlier computer offences. He was found by the assistance of any Japanese computer security expert Tsutomo Shimomura whose system is said was hacked by Kevin Mitnick in San Diego Supercomputer Middle which made him furious in tracking and supporting the FBI.

His hacking were only available in his school days where he received fascinated with pcs in a pc class. His interest of technology made him learn quickly and he soon were able to Hack LA public institution districts computer. At age of 17 he Hacked into Pacific Bell and improved phone bills. Same calendar year he access information appreciated at $200, 000 for a San Francisco Company. Caught and prosecuted received him a probation of 6 months. Throughout that period he again hacked in to the judge and probation officers and judge phone disconnected and expenses accredited. Interestingly the police caught the machine has been reached from outdoor but nothing showed up in their data source.

He also hacked into NORAD a missile monitoring company in says. Obviously this one could experienced catastrophic results. In 1988 he was accused of two offences one of these was of being able to access a MCI network for long distance call and second stealing your personal computer system which induced damaged as high as $4 million for a business. Because of this the judge made a decision to put him on jail without bail. During his bail endeavors prosecutors presented proof him breaking into National Security Agency pcs and also a false report being printed a bank lost $400 million in first quarter of that time. This happened soon after 4 days when Mitnick was rejected a job in that lender. Finally Mitnick pleaded guilty and was sentenced to jail for 1. 5 years and three years of probation.

In 1992 FBI suspected him of hacking into Pacific Bell which proof was found down the road which made Mitnick flee from FBI. Proof altering driving license record to set up a false id was retrieved. In this period the police arrived up to very close encounters of arresting him but Kevin always were able to proceed.

Finally being found and arrested in 1995 was costed with various new crimes and violation of his parole. He was Refused bail and it was ensured that there is no equipment of computer systems handed to him in jail so he could commit more criminal offenses. Calls were closely monitored and in 1997 Mitnick pleaded guilty and was sentenced to prison for 22 weeks for charges of being able to access phone system to be able to get free long distance phone calls and then a three years probation period where he would avoid anything Hi-tech The majority of his crimes still remain unsolved and he was released in January 2000 and expiration of probation in 2003. [6][7][8]

Ethical Issues

The honest issues for the given case study and their discourse from the above discussed theory are highlighted and talked about below.

* Hacking into lots of companies and being able to access their computer networks and gaining access to unauthorized data or data. Was it moral to gain access of such documents or data or basically breaking into a pc network?

Applying the consequence based approached breaking into your computer network or attaining access to secure data only benefited Mitnick and nobody else. Regarding to utilitarianism almost all must gain delight on the bottom of a effect however in this case it Kevin himself who gained pleasure and not the majority hence this work would be thought to be wrong for Kevin so it was not honest for him to gain or break right into a pc network

The duty based approach and deontology theory would easily say its wrong. By his functions it can figured is not to access another computer networks. That is stated in the ten commandments of ethics as well that was described in 1992. All Company would have secure data files and data and wouldn't normally be wished to breached by an outsider. Hence it was drastically wrong by Mitnick to do so.

Character Based way in Kevins circumstance would want him to break into computer sites for his love of technology and the sake of fun. His thirst for knowledge still is out there and breaking into these computer systems made him gain more knowledge which was more pleasurable for him. But morally this was wrong. By virtue ethics he should have chosen the right path instead of this wrong way. Hence it was still unethical for him to break right into computers.

* In his hacking background Kevin never gained any financial final result but instead he achieved it with regard to concern or sometimes to extract revenge on people. So was it honest to take action also to take such problems or seek revenge from people?

Consequence based mostly theory would again say No in cases like this merely to the fact that extracting revenge from many people or winning an effort to verify your ability would you need to be good for Kevin himself which in this case would be a minor individual and you will be happy himself only. Almost all of people would not be happy from this outcome.

Duty based procedure would say seeking revenge or damaging or doing unauthorized things which youre not certified to do would again lead to NO. Mitnick was not supposed to undertake it since it no act which an individual is assume to do.

Character-based or virtue ethics justifies to pick good practices of your moral identity and leave the unusual one behind to be a good human being and in this case doing good for yourself by causing harm to others isnt something good for and individual heroes and in this case Kevin Mitnick.

* Hacking into his university area computer system and Pacific Bell for modifying Phone Charges. Was it ethically right for him at get older 17 to break into some type of computer of his school and in pacific bell to alter phone expenses?

Consequence procedure would again say NO since he achieved it for himself again in this case. The advantage of this hack was for his own good rather than for anybody else. Especially the alteration of telephone bills is going to create deficits for the telephone company which can arrive into good sized quantities as well. So it was completely wrong in doing so.

Duty Based way applied on this issue would again lead to the conclusion of No since there is no act or insurance plan which indicate Kevin to break into university system or into telephone company to improve his phone charges. Based on the results of his functions he was totally incorrect in do so again.

Character Based strategy would again lead to the fact that morally as a person he knew it was incorrect in doing this but again he preferred to adopt his bad habit in cases like this which was again incorrect and lead to this results hence its a No again.

* Being on probation for his conviction Mitnick acquired his parole officials telephone disconnected and altered the computer record of the judge of his circumstance in a credit service computer. Was it moral for Kevin to do this act ?

Applying Consequence established strategy its again heading to lead to the actual fact of No because the consequence of this act was something bad for his parole official and the judge. It was an take action done by Kevin for his own satisfaction that was the minority in this problem and being in probation he must have avoided such implications which he didnt.

Duty Established again wouldn't normally support Kevin in this matter. His act was defiantly wrong in this case because the judge could experienced bad impacts and the parole officer will need to have been unsatisfied to and misguided credited to Kevin functions. And being on probation one shouldnt go against the law but Kevin did for his personal vendetta.

Character based theory wouldnt allow someones moral character to have revenge and harm another person which in cases like this again contributes to No. Harming someone for the sake of revenge is what would certainly be a bad behavior or an work leading to something which wouldn't normally be regarded as morally good and if u is aware that regulations is restricting you from something a good moral figure wouldnt want someone to go against regulations to get his own contentment.

* Convicted Stealing software from a corporation in Santa Cruz, California no conviction record was on FBI databases. Was it Ethical to grab and alter files?

Consequence founded theory wouldnt allow stealing or modifying to be me permissible. Stealing is something which would not be allowed in virtually any circumstances and even if we expect it does it wouldnt be something beneficial for majority in cases like this the California Company and the alteration of record of FBI. This time as well its No.

Duty based won't support an work of stealing or altering which triumphed int be regarded as something nearly as good so this time even in comparisons of functions its a NO out of this point.

Character Based mostly would say that stealing to be looked at among the bad habit of any human being and alteration of record can be considered of something as manipulation of record and in cases like this of the bad deed which Kevin was convicted so its a No this time as well.

* Breaking into North American Air Defense Command word (NORAD) missile immune system. Was it honest for him to break right into a immune system of any country?

The first strategy of Effect Based would hugely argue because increasing usage of such delicate system might well have catastrophic affects on millions of people. Harming or altering of those data files could have been really dangerous. So its a No again.

Second methodology of duty based mostly wouldnt allow such policy or rule for an individual to again access to such sensitive system cause of the dangerous results it may lead it into hence its No again.

Third procedure of Character centered would not ponder over it to be always a good habit of one moral persona in doing so because it would harm so many people so its a No from this perspective as well.

* Demand of two new crimes: Accessing MCI network for long distance calls and creating $ 4 million damage to Digital Equipment Organization. Was it honest to illegally access MCI and cause destruction of worthy of $ 4 million to a corporation?

Consequence would say No cause again the minority gets reap the benefits of this case that is Kevin and not almost all Both of them MCI and Digital Cop lost lots of money for this reason work performed by Kevin who were the majority in this problem.

Duty Based mostly wouldnt support Kevin as well cause because of this both those companies had to face huge deficits from the take action that Kevin possessed performed. No such insurance plan or function would be permissible for just about any individual on earth to take action. Hence No is the answer

Character founded would again treat this as No cause as stated above over and over alteration of records and damaging documents and causing injury to others would be seen as a good deed or good behavior so its a No again.

* Judge rejected him bail and ordered him to be held in prison? Was he honest in doing this? This period lasted for eight weeks in solitary consignment for Kevin.

Consequence centered might support this function of judge because Kevin was causing injury to large majority of individuals but adding him on solitary consignment for 8 a few months without bail and from the actual fact that it was not proven in those days that Kevin had committed those functions was a little harsh on Kevin. So its a divide decision I guess.

Duty founded would support the judge too cause he was creating harm to major companies and folks but still the decision was too tough for Kevin cause he deserved a trial at least. Everyone does indeed.

Character based wouldn't normally support the judge since it was a fact the Kevin was notorious but he deserved a trial and even if the judge thought he didnt, placing him in solitary consignment jail was totally wrong. A normal jail would have been alright to avoid Kevin from his notorious activities but solitary consignment was something wrong and very tough.

* Kevin fleeing from the regulators on a number of occasions for just two years and using artificial identities to cover himself from the regulators during his probation. Was it moral for him to do so?

Kevin do for his own good and during this period he caused harmed to majority along with his notorious activities so consequence Centered would support him on this issue.

Duty founded would also not support him since its not right to take misguide legislations by using artificial identities and stick to a run for just two years.

Character based wouldnt support him to since its not befitting someone to take legislation in his own hands and using artificial identities by damaging other people identities to remain. Its a particular No since its wii deed

* Was it ethically befitting Shimomura to help FBI in finding and catching Kevin?

All the three theories of character work and consequence established would support Shimomura in this problem its ethically right for anybody to help the law to catch anyone who has been causing injury to the community. And it was morally right for each individual to help get Kevin.

* After being found Kevin was held in Federal prison from 1995 to 1997 without bail and without trial by the FBI. Was it ethically right to accomplish that. ?

Consequence would again support the FBI since Kevin was harm to many companies companies and folks but only when Kevin was incurred after trial to stay in prison.

Duty Base shouldnt support this function of FBI given that they were laws right now to convict Kevin but FBI didnt even allow a good trial to perform which is not supported so YES| these were ethically wrong in doing this.

Character Established wouldnt support the FBI too since its not right for anybody in which to stay prison for an interval of 2 years without bail or trial. At least a trial must have been offered to Kevin and then if found guilty he must have encountered what he deserved.

Role of the professional

A professional is somebody who holds a degree in a specific field in conditions of education and then uses his knowledge in his comparative field and makes sure that his professionalism follows the code of ethics that will include terms such as Habit, sociality, confidentiality etc. When a professional is appointed somewhere a agreement and a bond is created between the two to follow certain serves and guidelines or policy within the organization and one of them is the security matter of misusing the data of an organization

Organizations related to IT or getting the IT dept within them also maintain an insurance plan between their engineers and themselves. Inside our particular case the role of any software engineer, hardware engineer or an application engineer they should follow those rules and plans but also IEEE CODE OF ETHICS which is the primary source of ethics code for just about any IT professional that ought to be followed by any professional related to the field of information and technology and inside our circumstance being software, software and hardware technical engineers [9]

Usage of knowledge for Hacking by a professional

In relation to using their knowledge for hacking can be something quite disastrous. If we take each of them individually and start with the hardware engineer definitely he can make use of it the right way or the wrong way since hardware devices physically build are very useful in hacking mainly lightweight devices something similar to which Kevin Mitnick used for hacking into McDonalds drive through system. But is it right to allow them to achieve this and the answer is actually no cause its resistant to the code of ethics which is out there in many forms related to cyber technology

Same goes to a software engineer and program engineer cause software and request level technical support is quite useful to build or enhance codes of a program and make it helpful for something negative which is actually something which wouldn't normally be appreciated in our world because its going to be harmful to many.

. But can all this knowledge be used in a confident way? Can hacking be positive? The answer to this question is yes which is something what is called ethical hacker.

Ethical Hacker vs. Hacker:

Hacker being the main one using his knowledge on the darker area tries to break into systems. While a Moral hacker is a person who does what's called penetration assessment and hacks into systems just to identify security defects and then inform companies to secure those flaws and sometimes providing them with answers to those imperfections as well but he has normally carrying it out for a security organization who is registered to do so and gets the right or permission of doing so. An individual if carrying it out alone by himself would be looked at to have determined a crime. . To avoid or get a hacker is what can be called moral hacker as well.

In our research study Tsutomu Shimomura is an honest hacker who used his knowledge to capture a hacker Kevin Mitnick. Kevin Mitnick also nowadays can be an honest hacker who operates his security company and will penetration evaluation for various organizations but this time around having his protection under the law to do it in a legal way and gets paid off well for doing this.


Information technology has had good and bad influences as any other technology on earth. In the world of Cybertechnology hacking is the negative aspect. Kevin Mitnick attention for technology lead him in Hacking but what started out as the sake of fun performed arrive to be quite disrupting when converted into major form. However being a lttle bit realistic your choice of FBI positioning him solitary confinement for 8 months without bail and trial would be something thought to be unfair for a man of Kevin caliber since its quite clear that he was a genius. And when a genius is cured this way his bound to be on the run when FBI suspects him later to be committing that crime again even though if hes not dedicated the crime he'd hesitate of facing a similar thing without bail and would like to try to escape from it. Psychologist has mentioned in the documentary movie Flexibility Downtime Life of Kevin Mitnick that it was an event which will want every individual to run away and thats what made him run. And then clearly his bad part took over him of which he evaded FBI for two years. Then again being captured Kevin didn't get bail or a trial for 2 years since 1995 and 1997 was again wrong. If Kevin did something wrong he should have been punished after a fair trial which he wasnt awarded. Besides Lawyer explained in that movie that even murders get bail and trial you will want to Kevin? Kevin have deserve to be punished for his acts given that they were totally unethical at the time but if FBI experienced use regulations in a genuine way maybe Kevin wouldnt end up this way and Kevin could have only been sentenced for the period of time he deserved. An interesting part of American judiciary is that Kevin is the longest performed person in history without trial or bail which may be figured out as to be totally unfair for him. After his sentence and probation of three years stopping in 2003 Kevin has started out a security talking to company and is now supplying a role of moral hacker and using penetration evaluation to check his clients security defects and using the code of ethics quite nicely. His professional approach towards his clients and himself leads us to the fact that he has been using his knowledge now in an optimistic way to secure his reputation and persuade the entire world that hes genius.

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