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IT Ethics Handbook: Right and Wrong for IT Professionals [Paperback]

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Item description for IT Ethics Handbook: Right and Wrong for IT Professionals by Stephen Northcutt...

When people think of ethics, they often think of personal values. While that is a large part of ethics, because of the rapid advancement of information technology a redefinition of ethics must occur which includes the non-human element and what it represents - the computer. The purpose of ethics in information security is not just morally important; it equals the survival of your business. A perfect example of this is Enron. Enron's ultimate failure due to a glitch in the ethics systems of the business created the most infamous example of an ethics corporate breakdown resulting in disaster. Ethics is no longer a matter of morals anymore when it comes to information security; it is also a matter of success or failure for big business. Enron went from being a visionary corporation to the butt of jokes throughout corporate America.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   648
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.06" Width: 7.01" Height: 1.26"
Weight:   1.9 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 8, 2004
Publisher   Syngress
ISBN  1931836140  
ISBN13  9781931836142  

Availability  0 units.

More About Stephen Northcutt

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! <P><a name="Heading1"></a><B>About the Authors</B><p><b>Stephen Northcutt</b> is a graduate of Mary Washington College. Beforeentering the field of computer security, he worked as a Navy helicopter searchand rescue crewman, white water raft guide, chef, martial arts instructor, cartographer, and network designer. Stephen is author/co-author of IncidentHandling Step by Step, Intrusion Signatures and Analysis, Inside NetworkPerimeter Security, and the previous two editions of this book. He was theoriginal author of the Shadow intrusion detection system and leader of theDepartment of Defense&#039;s Shadow Intrusion Detection team before acceptingthe position of Chief for Information Warfare at the Ballistic Missile DefenseOrganization. Stephen currently serves as Director of Training and Certificationfor the SANS Institute. </p><p><b>Judy Novak</b> is currently a senior security analyst working for theBaltimore-based consulting firm of Jacob and Sundstrom, Inc. She primarily worksat the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory where she is involvedin intrusion detection and traffic monitoring and Information Operationsresearch. Judy was one of the founding members of the Army Research LabsComputer Incident Response Team where she worked for three years. She hascontributed to the development of a SANS course in TCP/IP and written a SANShands-on course, &quot;Network Traffic Analysis Using tcpdump, &quot; both ofwhich are used in SANS certifications tracks. Judy is a graduate of theUniversity of Maryland&#151;home of the 2002 NCAA basketball champions. She isan aging, yet still passionate, bicyclist, and Lance Armstrong is her modern-dayhero!</p><BR><p >&#169; Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.</p></P>

Stephen Northcutt has an academic affiliation as follows - Series Editor.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Reference > Ethics
2Books > Subjects > Computers & Internet > Computer Science > Software Engineering > Information Systems
3Books > Subjects > Computers & Internet > Digital Business & Culture > Manager's Guides to Computing
4Books > Subjects > Computers & Internet > General
5Books > Subjects > Computers & Internet > Networking > Networks, Protocols & API's > Network Security
6Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General

Reviews - What do customers think about IT Ethics Handbook: Right and Wrong for IT Professionals?

Walk the walk...  Oct 29, 2005
It would be good if the author were capable of following his own advice; his personal examples contradict themselves on many important points, and when the moral questions get tough, he (or she) dashes away like a frightened rabbit, metaphorically speaking. A quick Google search turns up several lawsuits and evidence that this author is definitely not someone who should be writing about IT ethics under any circumstances.
This could have been better  Feb 2, 2005
I really wanted to like this book. There are a lot of good things in it, but the negatives outway them.

* No bibliography, refrences or pointers to further reading/research. There have been other books on it/computer ethics, this is not the first.
* The slant seems too much toward ethics as it relates to security and security-related matters. There's more to it/computer ethics then that.
* No mention of the several professional organizations of IT/ITSEC people!!! Slight mention is made of ACM & IEEE, but no mention of SAGE (the System Administrators Guide at which is THE professional association of sysadmins, who have spent YEARS developing a professional code of ethics. This code should have been included in the book. And what about the several professional groups of ITSEC people, like ISSA (Information Systems Security Association at which also has a code of ethics, Computer Security Insitute (, and so forth?? They should have been mentioned. (and since SANS, the authors group, did stuff with SAGE, ignoring them is pretty bad).
Don't know right from wrong? This book isn't going to help.  Dec 8, 2004
Have you ever wondered if you are doing the right thing? Is is okay to steal from work? How about downloading pirated music using the company network? Do the rules apply to everyone? Can I do whatever I want if I'm a system administrator?

These are real topics covered in "IT Ethics Handbook". Sadly, each answer comes in two varieties: Conservative and liberal (each of which get their own font!). If you don't like one answer, you can just choose the other. The (long) list of contributors put their heads together to come up with rationalizations for both sides.

I tend to think that if you have to ask the question, you already know the answer, and if you truly don't, asking your friends, boss, or co-workers will clear it right up. Heck, the employee handbook might even answer them. The book doesn't really lay a foundation for ethics, but sticks to specifics questions. Indeed, it seems to ignore the idea that ethics isn't an absolute, and may vary between different groups and cultures. They merely mention all that stuff in the introduction, but then quickly discard it.

Some other paraphrased questions, in case you still think you need this book. You can quickly find a rationalization for the right and wrong of each and apply the answer that you like best.

  • Can I write malicious virus code for profit?
  • Should I use somebody else's login and password?
  • Can I use company resources for personal gain?
  • Can I videotape my co-workers having sex in the hallways? (real question)
  • Do I have to obey the law?
  • Can I be lazy?
  • Can I spy on employees?
  • Can I take revenge on a co-worker?

Perhaps this book is for the guy who wears the expensive suit and takes off fridays to play golf.
Clear cookbook for common ethical dilemmas  Nov 7, 2004
I'm glad that we are finally starting to see books like this. This is a good one but I would like to see more emphasis on this area with even better books.

The book is organized into chapters based on various roles and functions within and organization. Then within each chapter there are various ethical dilemmas which are discussed. The dilemmas is defined, then both liberal and conservative takes on the matter are described and the item is closed with an explicit stance on the issue.

This issues discussed are wide ranging, from storing personal files on work machines, to whether a workplace affair can be tolerated. This wide ranging discussion is one of the problems I have with the book. If the issues had been more focused on IT concerns then each item could have been covered in more depth.

Another problem with the book is it's layout. I found that the layout of the text and the material distracted from the contents. There was too much formatting.

I liked the book because I found the material compelling. If not the discussions themselves, which were too brief. It stretched my mind to think about these issues and to take input from different sides of the fence. I hope this book will be revised so that it is even more readable and valuable. In the meantime it is still worth the look for those in the IT field with ethics concerns.
How Do You Truly Define Ethical Right and Wrong in IT?  Nov 2, 2004
When do we as information technology professionals cross the line ethically? Who us to say what is right or wrong? Are there absolutes? Or is everything just relative. These are some of the questions posed by Stephen Northcutt in IT Ethics Handbook - Right and Wrong for IT Professionals ( 648 pages ; Syngress, 2004). The only problem is that for this reader, the book left me with more questions than it answered, though I found the many examples and "case studies" included would provide good references for discussion purposes.

The first thing that caught my attention was the author's identification of "moral relativism" as one of the dominant "religious thoughts" in the world today. The author also boldly states that in many cases "moral relativism" will "rapidly get you fired in the workplace". This latter statement may or may not be true, but itstruck me more as an ethical goal in a perfect world than as statement of fact. And there is no way in the world that this reader would consider "moral relativism" a stream of religious thought because it has no grounding in religion at all. It is a by-product of the drive for a secular society in today's world. It seems that the author does acknowledge to some degree that moral relativism is a culprit in the ethical quandaries of today, it serves as the framework for the discussion of each ethical issue raised, casting answers in a "conservative" and "liberal" point of view to show the extremes of the answers to different scenarios.

It is here that the readers of this book would need to be very careful, as is the challenge in looking at any case study, since nothing is always cut and dry since a scenario does not always include all the factors that can drive it. The author does acknowledge this and states that every case study and answer set offered may or may not be applicable to given organizational circumstances.

All of this being said, I would not recommend this book for anyone expecting to find cut and dry answers that they can apply to their organization. I would recommend it as a desk reference to use for ethics training session or to find information for the starting point of discussions for ethics issues that may arise at any given time in the workplace. The price is not that expensive that you would not get at least some value out of the book, even if it just challenges your thinking about what issues really fall under the realm if "IT Ethics" or how you would approach a given situation.

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