IT Security

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The National Crime Agency (NCA) has carried out research into what is pulling some teenagers into becoming cybercriminals. The financial gains are not necessarily the main goal, Jake Davis a former member of ‘Anonymous’ and ‘Lulzec’ and arrested in 2011 explained, “It becomes so gamified that a lot of people, including myself, I think lose focus of what the hacking entails."

Learning young

Kids are learning to code as young as 10 and initially they start in a more innocent sense allowing them to cheat games and create mods for games. The skills, which are usually gained from forums, start to develop and with this coding progression comes progression to the hacking forums.

Teenagers want to prove themselves

Another major factor for teenagers is the sense of recognition and one-upmanship, if one hacker can do something, then so can they. There is also a concerning lack of belief that they will encounter any form of law enforcement relating to their acts as highlighted by Jake Davis where he explains that a lot of people see it as a game.

The ability for targeting users is now on the increase, anyone can buy a package that will allow you to run and Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS) or create a botnet. These also don’t require the technical ability of writing your own code.

The average age for a NCA related drug case is 37, however, the average age of a NCA cybercrime case is 17 with 61% of offenders being between the ages of 16 and 17. Going forward the NCA are trying to create methods of stopping the development of these cybercriminals and have stated even the most basic forms of cybercrime will be punished with arrest and prosecution.

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