Unethical Business Practices by Equifax

Running Head: UNETHICAL BUSINESS PRACTICES BY EQUIFAX

Unethical Business Practices by Equifax

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Introduction

The unethical behavior can be described as an action which falls outside of what is perceived as morally upright. The individuals are deemed to behave unethically as the business or professionals and politicians when their behaviors do not conform to the expectations of the members of the community. The unethical behaviors can lead the organization to lose a lot of money since such practices in most cases lead to a lot of money getting lost in the organization for the benefits of the culprits.

Unethical Practices in Equifax

Equifax is an organization which majors on the consumer credit reporting and works as an agent. The company for the last five years has had numerous unethical activities being linked to their executives. The hackers gained access to the data of the organization and potentially tampered with the organization’s sensitive data affecting approximately one hundred and forty-three million American customers including the social security numbers for the members together with their license numbers (CEV Multimedia & Ltd, 2011).

The attack of the Equifax Company shows one of the largest risks linked to the personal sensitive data in the recent years and being the third for the company since the year 2015. The Equifax based on Atlanta is considerably tempting to be the target for the hackers. In essence, if the thieves wanted to hit one place so that they can grab all the data they need for their customers and do the damage, they would logically go straight to one of the three major agencies (Ilie & Paul E. Spector, 2012).

It is denoted that the executive of the Equifax Company knew about these planned perpetrations of hacks, they delayed informing the individuals pertaining the hacking and their data being in the hands of the hackers. They did not also take any corrective activities to ensure that the planned activities did not take place (Bonhoeffer, Krauss, West, & Green, 2015). They just waited for the hacking to take place and even waited for a lot of time to pass before letting know of the customers of their data being breached.

Tampering with the Software Framework

Consequently, the underlying issues pertaining to the breaches as well was traced to the company exploit of the software framework by the information technology personnel which enabled the hackers to easily access the sensitive information of over one hundred and forty-three million individuals (National Research Council (U.S.), National Research Council (U.S.), & National Research Council (U.S.), 2014). The company is as well denoted to have had the patch for this exploit two months before the first breach took place and did not apply it to the system to prevent such activities from happening. Despite the patch being readily available, Equifax’s technical employees failed to keep up their original system (Carroll, 2014).

Stakeholders

The magnitude and the impacts of the breach compared to the previous incidents of the Equifax denotes that between the shareholders and the employees whose information was hacked, it became coherent that the breaches was serious and this affected the operations of the company. This is because the information of the individuals was at the dangerous hands and therefore their livelihoods were at risks. It is coherent that the stocks of Equifax suffered because of individualism where the company is denoted to have put their profit as a priority and not the safety of their customers (Velasco, Velasco San Martín, & Cristos, 2008).

In essence, with no clear laws showing the firm deadlines on how fast they could inform their customers on the breach, then it can be denoted that Equifax did not breach any principles of ethics in this regards. Therefore, since they were operating under the law, it can be shown that they practiced ethics since they eventually led them to know. However, these issues denoted in this regards was the company’s profits which reduced due to their actions. They were more likely to suffer the public backlash due to them waiting for longer before letting them know made the situation worse (Tanenbaum & Practising Law Institute, 2018). This is because the individuals perceived that they had the plans and therefore their operations are unethical.

Utilitarianism

The utilitarianism can be described as the theory of happiness which are the things associated with the intrinsic value. It is worth noting that if an organization is not actively trying to spread the most good to the maximum amount of the people through careful thinking pertaining their actions, then it can be depicted that they are not adhering to the utilitarianism ethics model. Like in this case of Equifax, the management was responsible for the maximum amount of the happiness for their stakeholders which entails the consumers, the employees, and any other stakeholders (Patrick & Werkhoven, 2017).

Being a credit reporting agency, the Equifax held the most confidential data of the large number of individuals including their names, social security numbers together with their addresses. Therefore, with the nature of sensitivity of such information, the breach emerged when they could not guarantee the safety of information for the number of people (Mill, John Stuart, & 1806-1873, 2008). Therefore, for utilitarianism, it is very important for the company to ensure that their stakeholders are happy. By the company failing to safeguard the information and also informing their customers on a timely manner pertaining the breach of their data and access by hackers, it can be denoted not to have been a good idea (Raysman & Practising Law Institute, 2018).

Conclusion

In summing up, it is worth noting that Equifax for the last five years has had numerous unethical activities being linked to their executives. The hackers gained access to the data of the organization and potentially tampered with the organization’s sensitive data affecting approximately one hundred and forty-three million American customers including the social security numbers for the members together with their license numbers. The Equifax based on Atlanta is considerably tempting to be the target for the hackers. In essence, if the thieves wanted to hit one place so that they can grab all the data they need for their customers and do the damage, they would logically go straight to one of the three major agencies.

The underlying issues pertaining to the breaches as well was traced to the company exploit of the software framework by the information technology personnel which enabled the hackers to easily access the sensitive information of over one hundred and forty-three million individuals. The company is as well denoted to have had the patch for this exploit two months before the first breach took place and did not apply it to the system to prevent such activities from happening. Despite the patch being readily available, Equifax’s technical employees failed to keep up their original system. The magnitude and the impacts of the breach compared to the previous incidents of the Equifax denotes that between the shareholders and the employees whose information was hacked, it became coherent that the violations was serious and this affected the operations of the company. This is because the information of the individuals was at the dangerous hands and therefore their livelihoods were at risks. It is coherent that the stocks of Equifax suffered because of individualism where the company is denoted to have put their profit as a priority and not the safety of their customers.

With no clear laws showing the firm deadlines on how fast they could inform their customers on the breach, then it can be denoted that Equifax did not breach any principles of ethics in this regards. Therefore, since they were operating under the law, it can be shown that they practiced ethics since they eventually led them to know. However, these issues denoted in this regards was the company’s profits which reduced due to their actions. They were more likely to suffer the public backlash due to them waiting for longer before letting them know made the situation worse. It is worth noting that if an organization is not actively trying to spread the most good to the maximum amount of the people through careful thinking pertaining their actions, then it can be depicted that they are not adhering to the utilitarianism ethics model. Like in this case of Equifax, the management was responsible for the maximum amount of the happiness for their stakeholders which entails the consumers, the employees, and any other stakeholders.

References

Bonhoeffer, D., Krauss, R., West, C. C., & Green, C. J. (2015). Ethics.

Carroll, J. M. (2014). Confidential Information Sources: Public and Private. Saint Louis: Elsevier Science.

CEV Multimedia, & Ltd. (2011). Ethics in business. Lubbock, TX: CEV Multimedia.

Ilie, A., & Paul E. Spector. (2012). Unethical Pro-Organizational Behaviors: Antecedents and Boundary Conditions.

Mill, John Stuart, & 1806-1873. (2008). Utilitarianism. The University of Adelaide Library.

National Research Council (U.S.), National Research Council (U.S.), & National Research Council (U.S.). (2014). Interim report of a review of the next generation air transportation system enterprise architecture, software, safety, and human factors.

Patrick, T., & Werkhoven, S. (2017). Utilitarianism.

Raysman, R., & Practising Law Institute. (2018). Financial services technology 2018: Avoidance of risk.

Tanenbaum, W. A., & Practising Law Institute. (2018). Health care technology 2018: New risks and how to plan for them in Cyber threats, Digital Medicine, loT and Technology Agreements.

Velasco, S. M., Velasco San Martín, & Cristos. (2008). Internet jurisdiction and applicable law in Latin America. Towards the need for regional harmonization in the field of cybecrime.