The concept of security has evolved to include areas that were previously not considered to be in need of security measures. There are increasing numbers of users and the smart cell phones myriad of functions, such as storage of sensitive information and connectivity capability continues to dominate the market. This therefore gives hackers reasons to hack into these phones (Sarno, 2010). The hacking process has thus continued to threaten the security of smart phones powered by operating systems such as Android. And as literature point out, there are increasing numbers of attacks on smart phones that are being executed using rogue applications available in the android market (Palmer, 2001). The latest news from the IEEE predicted that smartphone hacking will soar in 2012. The rise which is triggered by the free application downloads may result into the vice as IT specialists will end up using the download offer to their advantage. This was as per the research done by the IEEE fellow Dr. Jeffrey Voas (Prnewswire.com, 2011).
Moral Issue of the Hacking Process
Hacking is an ethical problem which violates individual right of privacy to the smart phone users. This is considering the First Amendment law which gave individuals the right to privacy and to speak out their mind without harming other public and government interests. It also outlawed the speeches which triggered illegal activities, fighting words, subversive expressions, pornography and obscenity as far as commercial and symbolic speech and expressions are concerned (Stephens & John, 1993). According to the law hacking denied individuals their right to privacy and hence should be prevented at all cost.
It cause huge losses to the phone users since they sometimes loss valued information which ought to be protected at all times. And as it is required by the First Amendment rule which expressly allowed freedom of expression, press and of speech, the smart phone users seeks redress to the increasing vice. All along hackers use their knowledge in IT applications for the purpose of stealing user information from phones. This problem is of ethical concern since hackers who may have networking knowledge intend to harm users of smart phones. But since the First Amendment blocked the congress or any other individual from infringing on people’s freedom of expression, privacy, press and assembly, hacking process tend to violate this. The hacking process should therefore be deemed illegal. And measures should be established to ensure no such incidents happen in future. It is true that the owners of these smart phones acquire them in order to enjoy the more advanced storage capability of the phone. They should therefore be protected on the same in order to ensure future sustainability of the smart phones in the market (Stephens & John, 1993).
Hacking has been the problem of concern regarding how technologists use their skills. Their programing and networking knowledge at times equip them efficiently for the hacking task. They manipulate the whole networking process until they get into other people’s private phones and contents. And later they use these people’s information for their selfish gains. Since no one can confess of hacking, the government should work closely with the software and smart phones manufacturers to identify them (Palmer, 2001). Likewise the government should use new technologies which can enable them to intercept individual emails and telephone calls, since it is the only way they can identify hackers by tracing their online moves. Hacking is an intrusion to individual privacy. One or more journalists at the British newspaper ‘The News of the World’ were reported on carrying out old fashioned hacking on celebrity information. They used the old phreaking methods of intrusion on voicemail systems that were used by celebrities and politicians. Since then, many public figures have fallen victim to hacking of phone calls, voicemail messages and computer information, some of which have been done by unknown people. But bearing in mind that the country’s I.T is centralized, security agencies should seek to counter this vice, by trailing its origin. Government and the law enforcement team should work closely with the IT professionals, smart phone manufacturing firms, software manufacturers and the mobile phone calling centers in order to effectively fight against the hackers. Since the software manufacturers have copyrights on the software they make, laws should be established to limit them from releasing the copies which can be used by hackers in their work. The personnel in those companies should also be accountable on how they use their reserved software copies. Such IT law enforcement techniques will not only make it easy for the law enforcers to identify the potential hackers, but will also make their trailing easy and attainable.
Stakeholders and Ethical Hackers
In this situation, there are a number of stakeholders involved in this case, manufacturers of well-known anti-virus protection software (Norton, MacAfee, AVG, and Kaspersky). With the situation involving hacking of mobile phones, users of mobile phones and smart phone manufacturers are stakeholders in this issue. In addition, network professionals who design smart phone applications are among the stakeholders involved in this case. Security of users’ data and impact of identity thefts necessitate that government agencies should be part of the stakeholders. To protect the organization and government computer systems, ethical hackers have been employed. Ethical hackers should be responsible for intercepting any hacking event and communications which poses a threat to the smart phone users. Just like the FBI used the carnivore program to intercept online communications of a suspected criminal and hacker (Community Oriented Policing Services, 2006). However, the program was discontinued on the ground that it’s infringing people’s privacy and freedom. But with the rising cases of hacking threats, the United States government ought to seek the First Amendment law in order to embrace the current issues. The law should legalize interceptions of emails and calls whenever national security is threatened. This is because it is the only way the government can effectively guard and protect the Americans civil rights. The use of carnivore, PATRIOT and total information awareness should be encouraged whenever someone is deemed to be a threat to humanity. These are defined as computer network experts who attack the security system of phones and computers on behalf of the owners with an aim of seeking vulnerabilities that malicious hackers could explore to expose information that is otherwise considered confidential. The ethical hackers, just like the unprofessional hackers, use the same principles to test the security systems of smart phones and/or computers (Sarno, 2010).
In order to protect the works of many professionals, government should establish some copyrights to intellectual property in the market. This gives individuals rights to create their minds and express their feelings uniquely. With the property rights and copyright laws the government should ensure that the software manufacturers benefit from their works and that they pay tax on them. It therefore guard the ownership of the object, image or intelligence once made public. However, copyrights and intellectual property rights have continued to prove hard thing to regulate considering the new internet downloads (Meyers, 1981).
Ethical hackers consider ethical theories and principles that make their work respectable and trustworthy for companies and organizations that employ them. The principle of autonomy in ethical theory demands that people should have control over their lives because they are the only ones who understand their chosen ways of life completely. This theory puts the interests of the smart phone owners and users over those of hackers whether ethical or unscrupulous hackers. In addition, the constitution provides the right to provide privacy to the users of these technologies (Levy, 2010). The smart phone users should hence not be at the mercy of the hackers. However, it is hard for the government through the constitution to protect technology users fully because sometimes the hackers cannot be established.
The principle of confidentiality is one that has been hard to observe owing to the right of ownership of software in the phones and computers. Much as an individual purchaser of a smart phone or computer may lay claim on the hardware, he/she cannot lay claim on the copyright of the software which continues to be owned by the manufacturers. The manufacturers therefore, have the access codes and technological knowhow on the use of this software and will hence continue to access this software’s information with or without the user’s consent (Levy, 2010). In addition, vulnerabilities exist in networks which track phones by mirroring connect calls through security weakness in the smart phones that are used. These security loopholes in smart phones give the hackers a chance to run the software of the said phones. Most main smart phone developers have constructed online markets where users obtain downloadable applications; Google Android has the Android Market, iPhone has the App Store, and Black Berry has the App World.
The security agencies should therefore work closely with software manufacturers in order to identify the hackers. They should check on who uses the software and for what purpose and in so doing it will help them identify the rules violators. Most important, the interest of users must be assured to protect them against losses. The move should be prioritized since it can cause more harm to the customers and the company’s reputation (Levy, 2010).
Sarno (2010) argues that hacking is seen as a marketing strategy to convince the users of existing security solutions in the IT industry. Advertisers convince the users of the software they sell can promote security in smart phone systems which sometimes are not true. White hat hackers are professionals who have applied ethical practices to ensure the security of phones which is attained by installing antivirus software, firewalls, hacking alerts and tracking devices. The white hat hackers should be encouraged and supported in order to eliminate cases of theft and infringement of personal privacy as required by the law. They should establish anti-hacking surveillances which identify hackers and ensure legal measures are taken against them.