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Technologically Enabled Crime: Shifting Paradigms for the Year 2000

Sarah Gordon
Computers and Security magazine
May 1994

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This paper will consider the social and ethical factors involved in the transmission of computer viruses and other malicious software. In addition to the people, we will consider the part the systems and technology play in the spread of this sort of data. We will draw parallels with one of the more well known scientific paradigms, the medical one, and note the similarities with the problems we now face. We will describe the evolution of methods of virus distribution: virus exchange bulletin boards, virus exchange networks, distribution sites, robots/servers, and books. The paper will discuss viruses for sale and make some comparisons between distribution of computer viruses and the distribution methods of "hacking tools". Other issues examined in this paper include the characteristics of individuals involved in the distribution of these types of programs, and problems of legal redress, as well as possible solutions based on ethics and ethical theory.

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