Capital one Bank Data Breach – Article Analysis


Unethical behaviour with technology has been one of the downsides of technology use. In recent years, technology experts have among them produced some unethical individuals willing to abuse the technology in illegal acts. This paper critiques one article printed on the CNN Business website elaborating how one software engineer-turned-hacker, Paige Thompson committed a harmful data breach on Capital one Bank. The paper then evaluates theft and how it is an ethical problem that can have ethical ramifications after being engaged and assesses the universal biblical perspective of her actions quoting some verses that support the view.   

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Summary of the Article

On July 30, 2019, CNN posted an article exposing Paige Thomson, a hacker who illegally gained access to bank account details of customers of the Capital One bank. The hacker was reported to have pulled one of the most infamous data breaches ever committed, having illegal access to over 100 million customer accounts. The article quoted a criminal complaint that stated that Thompson then tried to release confidential information such as social security numbers, social insurance numbers, and account numbers combined with the individuals’ names, addresses, and credit information.

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The hacker was also reported to have had prior working experience as a software engineer in a technology company named Amazon Web Services; at the time of her work, the company was the contracted cloud hosting center for Capital one Bank (the Bank she stole the data from). Leading to her arrest, she is reported to have consciously “boasted” of her actions, even illustrated how she had orchestrated this grand scheme and made it clear in her social media platforms that she was going to release the information to the general public. 

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Analysis of Ethical the Problem

The actions of Paige Thompson clearly showed a situation that led to a cyber ethical issue. In initiating her move, she first breaches the right of privacy of the Bank’s customers. Her actions of obtaining the information are of an illegal manner. She severely compromised the Bank and the customers and exposed them to potential harm. As a hacker who takes unauthorized information, this makes her a thief. It is unethical to view and share unauthorized files without permission. 

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It is known that the hacker had worked in a situation that had made her familiar with the working protocols of the Bank’s cybersecurity. In performing the data breach, she exploited her legally acquired knowledge to commit an act of crime. It is against the law to expose sensitive, confidential and protected information to unauthorized persons. The stolen data, if released to the public, would have eventually found its way into the wrong hands of other thieves who are well acquainted ain credit card theft. In a complaint against her, it was made clear that she admitted she was aware that her actions were illegal.   

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Biblical Worldview

The actions of Paige Thompson make her a thief in the context of the bible. Even though the aspect of technological advancement from the times of the bible to the current situation is quite evident, the action of taking somebody else’s property, in this case, data, constitutes theft. The bible is very stern on thieves and takes a clear stance when it comes to theft. In the old testament, in the book of Exodus, the ten commandments were given to God’s people, and in Exodus 20:13, the third commandment cautions them not to steal. Paige Thompson had intentionally broken this commandment. In a biblical worldview, Paige’s action would cause her not to enter heaven; In 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11, it states, “You know that wicked people will not inherit the kingdom of God, don’t you? Stop deceiving yourselves! Sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunks, slanderers, and robbers will not inherit the kingdom of God…”  

Paige Thompson had also made it clear that she intended to distribute the account details and information. This would have led to the information falling into the wrong hands of other thieves who could have used the credit card information to steal the customers’ money. This, in essence, would have made Paige an accomplice to their crimes. The bible also clearly states where it stands with accomplices of thieves; for instance, in Psalms 50:17-18, “For you refuse my discipline and treat my words like trash. When you see thieves, you approve of them…” the bible compares a theft accomplice to lack of discipline and trivializing the gospel of the lord.

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The unethical behavior of Paige Thompson, as exposed in the CNN article, is one that comes with the advancement of technology. She abused her privilege of being aware of the company’s workings and exploited her expert knowledge of technology, and used it to commit theft of information in what is referred to as a data breach. It is clear that it was not morally right to do what she did. The bible also shares perspectives of this unethical behavior and clearly condemns the perpetrator.

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