Why People Copy Software and Create Computer Viruses

Why People Copy Software and Create Computer Viruses

Susan J. Harrington (Kent State University, USA)
Copyright: © 1989 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/irmj.1989070103
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Abstract

Individual and situational variables are examined as factors in the behavior of computer users, namely copying of software (programs) and destruction of computer data by distributing destructive programs (viruses). The results of this research indicate that situational independent variables do explain much of the variance in copying of software, but individual variables do not. However, the individual variable of sex is strongly related to the dependent variable of distributing destructive programs. Relatively few situational variables are related. The fact that software copying has no perceptible impact on fellow computer users, whereas spreading viruses has a serious, destructive impact, suggests that the perceived impact on others may provide a clue as to when individual variables are dominant and when situational variables predominate. Thus, this study provides some evidence in support of the model proposed and suggests that both a developmental and situational approach to the behavior of computer users may be appropriate.

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