Are script kiddies a real threat? The Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) thinks so and launched a campaign to discourage teens from hacking activities after it has found the average age of suspects had plummeted to 17.
The decision is not unreasonable, the law enforcement noticed that the average age of the suspects has plummeted to 17. Hacking is becoming an attractive lifestyle, it’s cool, and a growing number are approaching it without having the perception of the consequences.
“Over the past few years the NCA has seen the people engaging in cyber crime becoming younger and younger,” said Richard Jones, head of the National Cyber Crime Unit’s Prevent team.
According to the officers from the NCA, the average age of suspected cyber criminals featured in investigations involving the NCA in 2015 year was 17, compared to 24 observed in 2014.
“We know that simply criminalizing young people cannot be the solution to this and so the campaign seeks to help motivate children to use their skills more positively,” Jones added.
“These individuals are really bright and have real potential to go on to exciting and fulfilling jobs. But by choosing the criminal path they can move from low level ‘pranking’ to higher level cyber crime quite quickly,”
The NCA has launched the #CyberChoices campaign that targets parents of youngsters aged 12-15 to explain them how it is easy to be involved in cyber criminal activities, even without their knowledge.
The official advertisement presented by the NCA features a young boy with his family on a sofa, with the parents vaunting about IT expertise of their son.
But when the parents reveal that he joked about robbing a bank that the they realize their son is cyber criminal. The spot ends with the entire family being quizzed by officers from the NCA.
The campaign #CyberChoices was launched by the UK Government to educate parents on common forms of cyber crime, the lack of knowledge has a significant impact of the perception on cybercrime for their son. Malware, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), ransomware, Dark Web are unknown terms for parents, but not for their children and the risk of being involved in criminal activities is high.
“The campaign aims to educate parents on the common forms of cyber crime potentially undertaken by teenagers. In an operation targeting users of Lizard Stresser, a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) tool which can knock websites offline by flooding them with data, all of the seven people arrested were under the age of 18.” reads the post published by the Agency
Younger hackers have also increasingly used Remote Access Trojans (RATs) that allow them to remotely control the PC of their victims, the agency revealed that youngest purchaser of a RAT was just 12 years old.
“Other types of malicious software called Remote Access Trojans (RATs) can also be popular amongst younger users. They allow people to remotely monitor and take full control of another computer. During an operation targeting users of the Blackshades RAT the average age of the 22 people arrested was 18, with the youngest purchaser of Blackshades just 12 years old.”
Giving a look to some of the most glamorous security breached, like the attack against the British IPS TalkTalk and the Christmas attack against PSN network and XBox live network conducted by Lizard Squad hacking crew it is possible to note that the groups were composed of young hackers, often minors …
It’s time to act!
(Security Affairs – hacking, #CyberChoice)