1 in 4 kids have tried hacking

Despite 78% agreeing that it is wrong, 1 in 4 of UK’s children have tried their hand at hacking into others’ Facebook accounts mostly by surreptitiously using the victims passwords. And it’s not just the boys – 47% admitting guilt are girls.

The study of 1,000 youngsters from London and 150 from Cumbria found that although 27% were doing so from the relatively safe confines of their bedrooms, these juvenile offenders are utilising computers in Internet Cafés (22%), the ICT suite at school (21%), and a friend’s machine (19%).

The most common reason was for fun (46%) however 21% aimed to cause disruption and a resourceful 20% thought they could generate an income from the activity. A small minority (5%) were switching to the dark side as a career move!

It’s not all one-sided though, as the kids revealed they’d also fallen victim with over a third having had either their Facebook or email account hacked.

Conducted by Tufin, the survey surprisingly revealed that the Cumbrian children with hacking habits were much younger than their city counterparts, with 78% having done so before their 13th birthday – in London 44% were under 16 with only 16% of these yet to enter their teens.

When the survey dug a little deeper it unearthed that of the children who had hacked over a quarter had targeted Facebook accounts, 18% went for a friends email, 7% for online shopping sites, a cheeky 6% besieged their parents email, and 5% breached the school website. A bold 3% had honed their skills enough to aim much higher with corporate websites under their belts.

It’s not all doom and gloom – there is some comfort to be drawn from the 27% of our apprentice criminals that were caught. 82% of the sample confessed hacking wasn’t actually that easy in practice and a commendable 70% labelled the practice as “uncool’!

Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin said, “One of the most worrying statistics from this survey is the staggering numbers of kids that are successful and the ages involved. Hacking has changed a lot in the past few years from the curiosity or fun factor to now making serious money or causing havoc in the corporate environment. Our job as IT security professionals is to stop hackers in their tracks and that means educating the kids as the Police have said at a very young age.”

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