The Ashley Madison saga where the personal details of clients were hacked and exposed to the public, irrespective of the company claiming that they had been deleted is one of the questionable situation related to ICT professionals (Broke, 2012). This is one of the recent scenarios following other different cases where different websites, companies and especially the ICT departments fail to uphold the required ethics when handling customer details.
What is going on?
The Ashleymadison.com saga which involved hackers accessing confidential customer information was not just a mare hacking because it involved some activities which would ruin the users’ marital status and even allow access of their bank accounts by unknown people. This social networking website was known as one of the premier site for married individuals seeking for affairs was hacked and unknown people with unknown aim obtained carious customer details like passwords, physical addresses, recently posted descriptions concerning the kind of person who the users would like to have an affair with and so forth, and posted them online (Elizabeth, 2011). This issues frustrated the website users because the site administrators claimed that all customer details had been deleted after getting directions from the authorities do terminate the website.
What are the facts?
Exposing such details was posing risk to the customers especially those who had already uploaded their confidential details to the customers especially those who had already provided their confidential details (Joseph, 2011). This is because when such details are posted to the public, anyone can use them to various activities which can lead to negative impact to the site users. The website also had other personal information which the customers never wished to be exposed to the third party, bearing in mind that the most of the users were married people searching for affairs.
What are the issues?
One of the things which triggered this saga was lack of accountability among the site administrators and also lack of being honest (Kenneth, 2014). This is because before the hacking occurred, the administrators had assured its customers that their information had been deleted from their database. The main aim of this hacking seems to be either exposing the customers to the public. In this issues, the site administrators being ICT professionals had the responsibility of ensuring proper security measures for the sake of preventing their customers’ confidential information from third party access (Mark, 2012). The site administrators provided false information by assuring their clients that their details had been deleted from their database. This information gave the customers confidence that everything was secure until the hacking occurred.
Who is affected?
The stake holders in this case are the website users (Richard, 2012). Exposing names, phone numbers, addresses, passwords of the site users affected them in the fact that this site was basically dealing with unfaithful husbands and wives. Exposing such information can make third parties to have easy access to the customers’ money especially when the bank details are exposed. It also revealed what the site users wished to remain confidential because being married one should not sign up in such sites. In such a case where full details of unfaithful spouses are exposed to the public, the chances of divorces are always high because no one wishes to stay with cheating partner.
What are the ethical issues and their implications?
In this case, the persons in question should be the site administrators. This is because the users might have no or little knowledge concerning how to secure their confidential information. The site owners being ICT professionals were supposed to ensure the site is secure (Sue, 2012). They were also supposed to advise their users about the likely risks associated with storing their confidential information in their database. It was also not right for the administrators to inform their uses that their information had been deleted if they had not done so. It is always unethical for ICT professionals to provide wrong or misleading information to clients especially when their confidential information is at risk.
What would have been done about this?
The best way of preventing this from happening was utilizing the ICT skills which the site administrators had to secure their customers’ information (Toni, 2012). bearing in mind that the information provided by the hackers indicated real physical addresses of the site users, it was possible for anyone to use those details to trace those who signed up in that website. Although this was an illegal website, the case was supposed to be investigated and proper legal actions taken upon the culprits in order to prevent such incidences from happening in the future. The site administrators were also supposed to be questioned about the issue of cheating their customers that information their personal details had been deleted from their website.
What are the options?
In this case, the site administrators were ICT professionals and were supposed to ensure the website had strong security measures. This could be probably installing software which can detect hacking activities, encrypting passwords, informing their users to come up with strong passwords and so forth (Richard, 2012). The site administrators were also supposed to inform their users about the risks of storing confidential information in their website. Honesty was another thing which could solve this issue because after the website was closed, the administrators informed their site users that their personal information had been deleted from their database.
Which option is the best and why?
Based on the fact that when the hacking took place the website was not active during that time because authorities had directed its owners to close it down, the best option was to clear all customer information and inform the users that their details had been cleared from the website. This would have prevented the customer information from being accessed by the hackers (Toni, 2012). Although there was a communication made to the users by the site administrators that all information had been cleared, this was not the case because the hacking revealed all information which the users had provided was still present in the database.
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