Software developers can’t just rely on their peers to be ethical and fair, and that can make them vulnerable to fraud and abuse, according to a new study.
The authors say the threat of abuse and fraud in the software industry is so serious that the community must be able and willing to take a stand.
The study, titled “How to Become a Software Developer Ethically and Responsibly,” says the problem is not limited to developers, but extends to other developers, too.
“There is an epidemic of unethical software development practices that are not only happening within software companies, but are also occurring within the broader tech industry,” said one of the study’s authors, Adam Rittenberg.
“A software developer who is a victim of this type of unethical behavior is almost always the victim of the same problem, which is the lack of integrity,” Rittenbom added.
“This is a global problem, not just an issue for the software developer.
It’s a problem for everyone, including consumers, investors, government regulators, and many of the companies that are building the technologies that will control our lives.”
The authors of the paper, published in the online journal PLoS ONE, say the software development community is often perceived as a safe space for ethical developers.
“People believe that they are safe from unethical software practices.
The reality is that the risk of ethical software development is even higher than the risk that you may be exposed to criminal activity, such as fraud, and even more dangerous,” said the paper’s co-author, John J. Storrs, Ph.
Rittenbos told Mashable.
“The community needs to know that this is not a situation where we can pretend to be completely ethical,” he added.
Ritts and Storrows report that more than a quarter of all developers in the world report having experienced a fraudulent transaction.
They also found that of all the industries where software developers are more likely to be victims, they were more likely than the rest of the industry to report having been the victim to fraudulent activity in the past six months.
The researchers say the issue is likely larger in certain industries because many developers are paid with in-app payments, which can be used to buy in-game items, including cosmetics.
The study found that while ethical software developers can avoid unethical behavior, it is only by standing up for themselves that they can protect their reputation.
“While we can say that ethical software dev would be more likely if they did not have to deal with these unethical practices, they should be aware that the more likely they are to experience ethical software issues, the more the system as a whole suffers,” said Rittenbs.
Rittens added that if a developer commits unethical behavior in an app, it will affect everyone in the app, including their peers.
“In a community, we are often asked to sacrifice our own safety and our reputation to help protect other developers from abuse and fraudulent behavior,” he said.
“It is not surprising that developers and the wider software development industry are feeling a lot of fear.”
The study also found a strong correlation between a developer’s perceived risk of fraud and the number of fraudulent transactions in an individual’s app.
When developers who report high numbers of fraudulent and unethical transactions are paired with developers who are less vulnerable to these fraudulent and ethical behaviors, the researchers found that developers with low levels of trust in others are more at risk of being targeted by fraud and unethical behavior.
“For these reasons, we think it is important that developers build a strong community of trusted and committed developers who will not take shortcuts in protecting their reputations,” said Storries.
“This is the only way to ensure that the system is more secure and that everyone who uses the app is protected.”
The paper recommends that software developers adopt the following practices to be more resilient to fraud:• Establish a trusted reputation and maintain it through transparency.• Protect developers from any unethical activity.• Conduct a survey on your users to find out how they feel about you.• Be honest with your users.• Use automated processes for reporting fraud.