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Fifth of British Kids Have Broken the Law Online | #cybercrime | #computerhacker

British parents and teachers have been urged to educate children on the dangers of low-level cybercrime, after a new study revealed that one-in-five 10- to 16-year-olds have committed offenses online.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) study claimed that the figure rises to 25% for children that are online gamers.

It said that they often don’t realize that what they’re doing is breaking the Computer Misuse Act. “Low-level” crimes could include:

  • Downloading software to access another person’s device
  • Attempting to access a protected server
  • Buying something using saved card details in someone else’s account
  • Making in-game purchases without the permission of the account holder
  • Launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks using online services

The NCA warned that such offenses could lead to arrest and a criminal record, confiscation of devices or laptops, possible expulsion from school, and limits on internet use, international travel and career opportunities.

Read more on young cybercriminals: Kids as Young as Nine Have Launched DDoS Attacks

It’s particularly keen to nip this kind of offending in the bud, the NCA said, claiming that many young people progress from low-level crimes to more serious offenses in a short period of time.

The agency wants instead to encourage young people who show an aptitude for digital to develop their skills in positive ways.

Many such skills are in high demand by employers at the moment.

There was an estimated global shortfall of four million cybersecurity professionals last year, including more than 73,400 in the UK – a 29% year-on-year increase.

NCA deputy director, Paul Foster, who heads up the agency’s National Cyber Crime Unit, encouraged parents, teachers and children to visit its Cyber Choices website for more information.

“Many young people are getting involved in cybercrime without realising that they are breaking the law. Our message to these teenagers is simple – don’t play games with your future,” he added.

“Whether you engage in this behavior knowingly or without realising, you are committing an offence – and could face serious consequences for your actions.”


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