Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ethics vs Morals in Cyber Security, the Insider threat

Having to choose between ethics and morals can sometimes leave an individual to make a choice which in the end, they may have wish they didn’t make. If we consider the cases of Thomas Drake, Edward Snowden and PFC Bradley Manning, we see while the end results were the same, the processes were not. Thomas Drake allegedly tried a number of avenues to have his concerns addressed (ZETTER, 2010)before he went to the media. Contrasting Drake’s action with Edward Snowden’s (HOSENBALL, 2013) or PFC Bradley Manning (POULSEN & ZETTER, 2010), shows while similar they are not necessarily the same.

Ethics is referred to as a set of principles while morals relates to ones beliefs (thewritingsite.org, 2012). Considering those definitions, it is clear that Drake faced a moral dilemma after trying everything ethically possible. Before communicating with the media, it is reported that he spoke to his superiors, then looked to congress, then went to the Defense Department (ZETTER, 2010). Clearly, one can conclude that these were not the actions of someone who was just focused on simply leaking classified information.  He seemed to have been more concerned about discussing the implications of replacing the ThinThread program with one called TrailBlazer. Looking at the actions of Drake, Snowden and Manning from the perspective of the end result may blur the true intent of these various actions.

While it can be debated as to whether the actions of Drake, Manning or Snowden were ethically/unethically or morally/immorally driven, there are cases where one can clearly draw a conclusion.  An administrator who knowingly hosts porn on company servers (Harbert, 2011) along with other illegal activities can be considered as unethical. As an administrator, this employee was entrusted with keeping the company assets and its reputations protected. This employee can and should face the full brunt of the law. 

Considering the preceding paragraphs:

What dilemma do you see with ethics vs morals, as in relates to the insider threat and Cyber Security?

Do you think that the actions of Thomas Drake, Edward Snowden and PFC Bradley Manning should be judged using the same set of criteria? If Yes or No, please elaborate

How would you go about protecting your organization from an Insider Threat?

(2012, 03 12). Retrieved from thewritingsite.org: http://www.thewritingsite.org/ethics-morals/
Harbert, T. (2011, 01 18). Retrieved from computerworld.com: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9204581/Security_fail_When_trusted_IT_people_go_bad?taxonomyId=17&pageNumber=1
HOSENBALL, M. (2013, 08 15). Retrieved from reuters.com: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/15/us-usa-security-snowden-dell-idUSBRE97E17P20130815
POULSEN, K., & ZETTER, K. (2010, 06 06). Retrieved from wired.com: http://www.wired.com/2010/06/leak/

ZETTER, K. (2010, 07 14). http://www.wired.com/2010/07/thomas-drake/. Retrieved from wired.com: http://www.wired.com/2010/07/thomas-drake/

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