Kids probably do this for fun. Sometimes, even to get praises for the skills they have.
The recent dumping of hacking tools on the dark web is not only a regular problem, but is soon becoming a global issue, explains a detailed report by the NCA. These leaked hacking tools are now getting into the hands of various hackers, who are on the prowl for unsuspecting victims. However, hackers are known to do such stuff for ages now, but the major cause of concern is that even youngsters are getting their hands on these tools. With such hacking utilities, young students are now turning into cyber criminals.
Free and easy-to-use hacking tools are helping many young people slip into a life of cyber-crime. The National Crime Agency (NCA) has detailed the "pathways" taken by people who become criminals. The report has stated that many have started getting involved with game cheat codes and mods on various websites and forums.
The report is based on a small number of interviews with people who have been arrested or cautioned for computer-based crimes. Of the various people who were interviewed, many were teenagers with an average age of around 17.
‘At the heart of the NCA's report is a simple but worrying conclusion: the internet is creating a new kind of criminal,’ reported BBC.
— A number of UK teenagers who we assess as unlikely to be involved in traditional crime are becoming involved in cyber crime.
— To date there has been no socio-demographic bias amongst offenders or those on the periphery of criminality.
— Availability of low-level hacking tools encourages criminal behaviour.
— Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) appears to be more prevalent amongst cyber criminals than the general populace though this remains unproven.
— Offenders begin to participate in gaming cheat websites and 'modding' (game modification) forums and progress to criminal hacking forums without considering consequences.
— Financial gain is not necessarily a priority for young offenders.
— Completing the challenge, sense of accomplishment, proving oneself to peers is a key motivation for those involved in cybercriminality.
— Offenders perceive the likelihood of encountering law enforcement as low.
— Cyber crime is not solitary and anti-social. Social relationships, albeit online, are key. Forum interaction and building of reputation drives young cyber criminals.
— Positive opportunities, role models, mentors can deter young people away from cyber crime.
— Targeted interventions at an early stage can steer pathways towards positive outcomes.
Younger kids who would not even dream of committing crimes are now involved in the online world, stealing data, vandalising websites and even taking down servers. In short — if you can win an online computer game by simply launching a cyber attack on your opponent, it is similarly simple to do the same to your school website or even government websites and companies that you don’t like.
Kids probably do this for fun. Sometimes, even to get praises for the skills they have. However, to gain popularity and online friends, the young today are highly vulnerable and can become criminals without realising it. The report shocking revealed that some kids who were interviewed for similar crimes were as young as 12 years old. However, the reported that they are not motivated primarily for money, but early intervention can be very successful.
Factors defining the pathway leading to cyber-crime:
—Low barriers to entry thanks to the wide availability of easy-to-use hacking tools
—Easy access to illegal programs
—A low risk of being caught
—A perception that hacking was a victimless crime
The above factors are responsible for "an environment in which more young people are becoming involved in cyber-crime", the NCA said.
Mentors, role models, positive opportunities and similar options could help deter the young from committing cybercrime, the NCA added. Interventions by ex-offenders, computer professionals or police could also help divert younger people, it said.