web analytics
December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Computer Virus

Business-Halacha-logo

Ruby and Zev were classmates but didn’t get along well. One weekend, shortly before a test, Ruby asked to borrow Zev’s notes and kept them the entire weekend, ignoring Zev’s pleas to return them. Not surprisingly, Zev did poorly on the test. He decided to get back at Ruby.

Two days later, Ruby received an e-mail from Ruby, with the subject heading “Helpful computer program.” Attached was an .exe file, with a message to click on the file to install the program.

“That was nice of Zev to share the program with me,” Ruby said to himself. “I thought he was really mad at me.”

Ruby clicked on the file. He expected an installation dialogue box to open. Instead, after a minute, his screen went blank.

“What just happened?” Ruby exclaimed aloud.

He pressed various buttons on the keyboard but received no response. “Let me try rebooting,” Ruby said. He shut the computer and restarted it, but Windows didn’t load. The screen just sat there blank.

“Could it be that the file was a virus?” Ruby wondered. “I can’t believe that Zev would do this just before the Yamim Noraim! In any case, I’m going to have to take the computer to the technician.”

Ruby removed all the wires and cables from the computer and brought the computer in. “The computer suddenly stopped working after opening an e-mail attachment,” he said to the technician. “I suspect the file might have been a virus.”

“There are lots of those going around,” said the technician. “Do you have an anti-virus installed?”

“Of course,” replied Ruby. “I downloaded one of the free versions.”

“They’re not 100 percent effective,” said the technician. “I’ll have a look and see what I can do. Write your phone number on this card, and I’ll call you when I identify the problem.”

Ruby went home. Later that day, the technician called. “You got hit by a new virus,” he said. “After a few hours of work, I was able to remove it and get the system started. Some files got erased; I hope you have some backup. It comes to $350 for the repair.”

Ruby thanked the technician. “I’ll be over to pick up the computer,” he said.

On the way there, Ruby thought about what happened. “It’s Zev’s fault for sending this virus,” he reasoned. “I’ll bet he’s liable for the repair.”

Ruby called Rabbi Dayan and asked: “Is someone liable for the damage he caused by sending a virus as an e-mail attachment?”

“Before addressing the liability of someone who sends a virus as an attachment, we need to clarify the status of a computer virus,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “The analogy to classical cases of damage is a fascinating subject of discussion. The Mishnah in the beginning of Maseches Bava Kama (2a) mentions four categories of damage: damage inflicted by one’s animal, by an obstacle he placed, by the person himself, and by a fire he lit.”

“What category would a computer virus fall under?” asked Ruby.

“Some compare the computer virus to aish, a fire that spreads beyond control,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “Like a fire, the virus is generated in the sender’s computer, and then spread over the Internet, though e-mail, contact books, and other media. This might lead to consideration of various limitations of aish, such as items that are “concealed” and distinctions between the initial recipient and subsequent recipients.” (See Techumin, vol. 22, pp. 325-333)

“That sounds reasonable,” said Ruby.

“Others consider the virus similar to an obstacle, bor,” said Rabbi Dayan. “Although bor is typically characterized by a damaging item that is stationary, the Gemara derives liability also for an obstacle that is tossed or kicked around inadvertently by the wind, an animal, or people. In halacha this is called bor hamisgalgel. This would provide a significant limitation, though, since there is a legal exemption of bor for inanimate items (keilim) such as a computer.”

“Finally, some consider the virus a direct action of the person who sent it, similar to person who shoots an arrow or uses a hammer to break something,” said Rabbi Dayan. “Here, too, the person uses the medium of the computer to send the damaging virus.” (See Techumin, vol. 24, pp. 102-109)

“At least the virus is not is one’s animal,” said Ruby.

“Yes,” replied Rabbi Dayan with a laugh. “That would require a live virus! Either way, it should fall under one of other three categories.”

“All this applies, though, to a virus that someone infected another person’s computer with or one that self-opens,” concluded Rabbi Dayan. “However, usually the recipient has to open the virus attachment to activate it. This additional factor makes it difficult to rule a legal liability but requires a separate discussion.”

(IY”H, we’ll have that discussion next week.)

About the Author: Rabbi Meir Orlian is a faculty member of the Business Halacha Institute, headed by HaRav Chaim Kohn, a noted dayan. To receive BHI’s free newsletter, Business Weekly, send an e-mail to subscribe@businesshalacha.com. For questions regarding business halacha issues, or to bring a BHI lecturer to your business or shul, call the confidential hotline at 877-845-8455 or e-mail ask@businesshalacha.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Computer Virus”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
False Alarm 2
Rocket Fire Returns to Southern Israel – Again!
Latest Judaism Stories
Torah-Hakehillah-121914

The travail of Yosef was undoubtedly the greatest trauma of Yaakov’s life, which certainly knew its share of hardships.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

Yosef, in interpreting the first set of dreams, performed in a manner that was clearly miraculous to all.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

Chazal teach us that we need to be “sur may’rah v’asei tov,”avoid bad and do good.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

When we celebrate the completion of learning a section of Torah, we recite the Hadran.

Fetal Immersion?
‘The Fetus Is A Limb Of Its Mother’
(Yevamos 78a)

Yosef proves he is a true leader; He is continually and fully engaged in the task of running Egypt

When the inability cannot be clearly attributed to either spouse, the halacha is the subject of debate among the Rishonim.

Those who reject our beliefs know in their souls Jewish power stems from our faith and our prayers.

He stepped outside, and, to his dismay, the menorah was missing. It had been stolen.

Though we Jews have deep obligations to all people our obligation to our fellow Jew is unique.

In a way that decision was the first in a series of miracles with which Hashem blessed us.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Exploring the connection between Pharaoh’s dreams and the story of Joseph being sold into slavery.

Our right to exist and our form of self-government were decided by the ruling parties.

It is clear that Tosafos maintains that only someone who lives in a house must light Chanukah candles.

If Chanukah was simply a commemoration of the miracle of the oil and Menorah, we would be hard pressed to see the connection between the reading from Parshas Nesiim and Chanukah.

More Articles from Rabbi Meir Orlian
Business-Halacha-logo

He stepped outside, and, to his dismay, the menorah was missing. It had been stolen.

Business-Halacha-logo

“I do not owe anything,” Mr. Feder replied. “However, if I must come – I will.”

Mr. Weiss refused to listen and sued Mr. Cohen in civil court.

In the afternoon, he reached into his pocket to check for the money, but it was empty. “The $50 bill must have fallen out,” Alex exclaimed. “It’s got to be in one of the rooms I was just at.”

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

“That’s what I thought, so I returned the money to Aharon,” said Reuven. “But this morning, Shimon, who owes me $70, told me he left $70 for me under the table last week! Now I don’t know whether the $70 was connected to the note, and was Aharon’s for the purchase of sefarim, or was repayment to me from Shimon, unrelated to the note.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Ross picked up the bris kit. While driving home, he was stopped by armed thugs. They forced him out of the car and drove off with the bris kit inside.

“ ‘We’re almost out of stamps,’ I said. ‘I’ll be happy to run over to the post office and pick up a supply.’ ”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/computer-virus/2013/08/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: