In a recent report from The National Crime Agency (NCA) has revealed how young people get into cyber-crime.
One of the pathways to becoming a cyber-based criminal is through people getting involved with game-cheat websites or forums that talked about ways to change or "mod" games. These free and easy hacking tools are making committing crimes more accessible.
The report was based on interviews with people who were arrested or cautioned with for carrying out computer-based crimes. It also contained analysis from academic studies of offenders. The NCA report found that the average age of those arrested and interviewed was 17, with some being as young as 22. This is considerably lower than the average age other offences, such as drug crime (37) and financial crime (39).
Conclusions from the report found that a new kind of criminal has been created with more young people being involved in crime, who would not normally be involved in criminal activities such as theft, fraud, sex or harassment.
Some of the online criminal activity includes young people stealing other people's data, vandalising websites and taking down servers. By being involved in these activities they are breaking the law, causing damage to real victims.
The report has highlighted that young people often get involved in criminal activities and get praised by their peers for their skills which can encourage the activity.
Luckily, young people committing cyber crimes are not motived predominantly by money, meaning that early intervention can be effective.