It’s scary how the world’s growing dependence on technology has resulted in growth in cyber crimes. But what’s more disturbing is the possibility that children as young as 10 years old may already take part in these illegal activities today.
Believe it or not, the digital revolution has made it easier for kids to find their way into the dark parts of the Internet. Once there, they are prone to exploitation, perhaps being drawn into participating in fraudulent activities. They can become a money mule or be asked to make malicious programs. Thankfully, there are some warning signs parents can look for to tell whether their children are involved in cyber crimes.
Hacker News: Is Your Child A Hacker?
Vince Warrington, a cyber security expert, has taken part in a new program in Merseyside, Liverpool that educates children between 8 and 18 about online behavior. Called ‘Hackers to Heroes,’ the scheme urge young people with computer skills to embark on cyber security instead of cyber crime. Here are a few signs he says parents need to look out for:
- They’re fond of spending their vacant time alone with their computer.
- They have a few real friends but talk more often to online friends about computers.
- Some people call them by an odd-sounding nickname.
- They use a web browser called ToR (The Onion Router) instead of the common ones like Chrome or Firefox.
- They have many email addresses.
The list which Liverpool Echo first published also indicates children with Autism and Asperger’s could be more vulnerable to participate in illegal cyber activities. Warrington claimed these often starts with online gaming. Apparently, some are persuaded to do so to attack rivaling clans or game companies for doing things they dislike.
Of course, some parents may perceive the signs mentioned above as just normal behaviors. Hence, they should not take such in isolation as they do not necessarily mean a kid is at risk of getting involved in illegal online activities. They are mere indicators which could help parents investigate these tendencies further.
Hacker News: Cybercrime
This isn’t the first time a UK city created an effort to combat illegal online activities. BBC notes Britain’s National Crime Agency has launched the same campaign as ‘Hackers to Heroes’ in 2015. “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,” said Jones.
The campaign aims to educate parents about the common forms of cybercrime. These include the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks which can shut down websites by flooding them with data. The program came after it found the average age of cyber criminal had plummeted to 17. The age is seven years younger than 2014’s recorded average age of suspects.
Also Read: Dark Web Sites Hacked: What Is The Dark Web?