Mostly for fun or something more sinister?
One in four kids in the UK has attempted to hack into online accounts, according to new research from security firm Tufin Technologies.
The survey of 1,000 youngsters from London and another 100 from Cumbria also revealed that 78% knew accessing other people’s accounts on sites like Facebook was wrong – but that didn’t stop them from having a snoop.
The most common way of hacking someone else’s account was by simply guessing their password, which doesn’t say a lot for the strength of password security.
The budding cybercriminals said that “fun” was the main reason for having a go at hacking (46%), followed by causing disruption (21%). A resourceful 20% thought they could make money from it and 5% even thought they could make a career out of it.
The target of their attacks was usually Facebook accounts, which over a quarter of the hackers admitted to having a go at, followed by a friend’s email (18%), online shopping sites (7%), their parents’ email accounts (6%) and even their school’s website (5%). A small number (3%) said that they had tried to access a corporate website.
The traditional stereotype of a hacker in their bedroom may need to be rethought – while 27% said they used their own PCs to launch attacks, 22% said they used Internet cafes, 21% said they used PCs at school and 19% said they used a friend’s machine.
“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,” said Reuven Harrison, CTO and co-founder of Tufin Technologies.