Feeds

One in four UK schoolkids admits hacking

Pre-teenage kicks

3 Big data security analytics techniques

One in four UK youngsters have tried hacking into Facebook or webmail accounts, according to a new survey.

An online poll of 1,000 school-age children in London and 150 in Cumbria discovered that the vast majority (78 per cent) knew that hacking was wrong. Despite this a substantial minority couldn't help themselves from snooping on their schoolmates' social networking activities, often hacking into accounts after guessing passwords.

The most common motive for Facebook hacking was for fun (cited by 46 per cent of mini-miscreants), followed by mischief (21 per cent). One in five hacked in the belief they could make money while five per cent went further still and imagined a career on the dark side.

A quarter of the self-confessed scamps targeted Facebook accounts, 18 per cent went for a friends email, seven per cent for online shopping sites, while 6 per cent went after their parents' email, and five per cent breached the school website. Around 27 per cent of the junior hackers said they were caught. Four in five (82 per cent) of the miscreants in the sample confessed hacking was tough.

Over a third of those surveyed had become victims themselves after either their Facebook or email account was hacked.

The poll, run by IT security experts Tufin Technologies in conjunction with Cumbria Constabulary, discovered that children from the Lake District county were more likely to try out hacking at a younger age than their big city counterparts, with three in four who admitted to hacking reporting that they did so before their 13th birthday, In London, pre-teen hackers numbered just 16 per cent of the sample of self-declared wrong 'uns.

Cumbria Constabulary’s deputy chief constable Stuart Hyde, who leads ACPO's e-crime prevention efforts, said the survey illustrated the need for strong passwords.

"Hacking into personal online accounts whether email or Facebook can be child’s play if users do not protect their own passwords," he said. "It illustrates the importance of keeping your passwords strong, secure and changing them regularly to help protect your accounts from unscrupulous people of all ages.

“Only 53 per cent of the children surveyed felt that hacking (i.e. using someone else’s account) was illegal which shows there is a real need to educate youngsters to the dangers both so they are deterred from trying it and also so they know how to protect their own accounts.

"Hacking is illegal and we need to ensure everyone understands that.”

Top tips from Cumbria Police on staying safe online can be found here. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Reddit users discover iOS malware threat
'Unflod Baby Panda' looks to snatch Apple IDs
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.