ITGS Syllabus

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Topic 160

Undetected intrusions into IT systems, for example, phone tapping by Xiaoxiao Li

What is the main problem here? The main problem is that these “undeteced intrusions” which aren’t just limited to phone tapping can have a huge impact on the company. For instance, if Yahoo!’s IT system was intruded by a highly qualified and highly paid hacker then the company could lose all it’s data and the website would probably be shut down for days, even months or forever! Of course, that’s major exaggeration but that’s just to show what kind of impact undetected IT intrusions could have.

Let’s start with phone tapping since it’s part of the topic. Phone tapping is when a third party gains access to the phone lines of another party. This can be done by playing with the wires or bribing certain people. Since phone is a very popular way of communication in today’s world, the person who has tapped the phone has access to the victim’s entire life because telephone calls are made to everyone – your doctor, husband, lover, friends etc! Socially, this is against the law, especially without permission. Even with permission, it’s plain invasion of privacy, which just isn’t right.

Other forms of “undetected intrusions” can be hacking of someone’s email. But since we are talking about “IT systems” here the hacking could be of an entire computer. A qualified hacker or someone in your family can do this. And I do mean to imply that nobody can be trusted in today’s world and even your family members might try to hack into your computer because they want to know what you do and everything.

If someone does indeed hack into your computer without your knowledge, then he would be able to read all your e-mails, all your saved MSN and Yahoo conversations and if he’s intelligent enough (which he should be since he hacked into your computer) he’ll able to view all the saved passwords to all the websites you visit!

And you won’t even find out about it until the damage is done. Socially, just like phone tapping this is against the law. Any form of invasion of pprivacy is against the law, if done without permission. Ethically, this is very wrong because simpy put you are invading the other person’s life without even letting him know! People do this all the time today, especially the jealous and protective lovers who want to find everything their partners are doing when they are not with them.

There are other forms of intrusions too like a virus or a bug in the software, which can cause all the company’s data to just vanish. These viruses are either sent by random hackers or paid hackers. Therefore, all these anti-virus companies are making so much money today because everyone’s scared of viruses because it’s very hard to recover lost data and sometimes it’s too late when the virus is found. Therefore, in order to detect the “undetected intrusion”, anti-virus software is needed. The best way would be to just buy a Mac because Macintosh is known to have no viruses!

Basically, it is wrong to intrude somebody else’s system! It’s wrong socially because it’s against the law and ethically because it’s clear invasion of privacy. You can protect yourself by either installing anti-virus software or creating a really complex password that’d be really hard to guess. Or you can just buy a Mac and let it do the work for you.


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