Average age of UK hackers is just 17

An alarming number of youngsters are being led into a life of cybercrime. According to a report published by the National Crime Agency, the typical age for those arrested for online crimes is just 17 years old, with some as young as 12 being linked with cybercrime.

Lured into more serious crimes, many youngsters become involved with hacking circles after using game-cheat websites and forums, which show gamers how to change or ‘mod’ their games.

The young generation is becoming so technologically savvy, that a couple of years ago seven-year-old Betsy Davies demonstrated how she was able to hack into a stranger’s laptop within just 10 minutes, due to an unsecure Wi-Fi network. Using just Google and YouTube, Betsy was able to learn and apply the necessary techniques to complete the hack.

But the NCA is not suggesting tighter restrictions on teenagers use of internet or greater security measures. Instead the country’s crime agency reports that mentors, role models ad positive opportunities will deter youngsters from a life of cybercrime.

The data gathered in the report includes arrest and charge figures as well as the number of ‘cease and desist’ visits (by police, computer experts etc) to youngsters the NCA identified as dabbling in malicious hacking. The report also outlined that youngsters were hacking simply because they could. Unlikely to be involved in theft, fraud, sex or harassment crimes, teenager cybercriminals seem to be driven by easy-to-use hacking tools coupled with the low risk of being caught.

The report was commission after a number of teenagers were charged into the massive data breach at TalkTalk last year. It also found that teenagers from London and Scotland were more likely to become involved in cybercrime than elsewhere in the country. 

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