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The Role of Ethics in Cybersecurity Studies

The Role of Ethics in Cybersecurity Studies

University of Minnesota researchers' recent "experiment" - which involved sneaking vulnerabilities into the Linux kernel code base and then effectively bragging about it in the name of research - highlights the role of ethics in cybersecurity.

Nobody wants to be a proverbial guinea pig; least of all, developers donating their time and energy to making the world a better place. You’d think with all the recent discussion about consent, researchers would more carefully observe ethical boundaries. Yet, a group of researchers from the University of Minnesota not only crossed the line but ran across it, screaming defiantly the whole way.

In response, the Linux Foundation, which is the core of the open source community, took the unprecedented step of banning the entire University of Minnesota from contributing to the Linux kernel. The open source community is built upon the principles of trust, cooperation and transparency. This group donates time and high-value industry skills to create, maintain and improve free and widely adopted software in the interest of making technology more accessible. Linux is a widely used operating system found in everything from servers to cell phones.

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