However, in a recently released Panda Security survey, which studied the Internet habits of adolescents between 15 and 18 years olds, we may have seen a least a partial answer.
Some of the statistics generated by the survey included the following:
More than 50% of those surveyed between 15 and 18 years old, use the Internet daily
Average weekly On-line connection time 18.5 hours
On-line studying activity accounted for 32% of this time
The remaining time involved leisure activities, such as playing games online, watching videos, listening to music, chatting, etc.
These statistics seem real and not unexpected, based on my own experience. But additional statistics generated by the same survey, may be cause for concern.
Two thirds of the survey participants stated they had, at least once, attempted to hack a friend’s instant messaging, or social network account.
Perhaps more serious, given the state of child pornography laws, which allow for the prosecution of even teenagers who post their own personal compromising photos online, 20% of participants stated they had sent compromising photos of friends over the Internet, or published them on the Web, without prior consent.
As an Internet Security Blogger, the following statistic was particularly concerning – According to Panda “17% of adolescent users claim to have advanced technical knowledge, and are able to find hacking tools on the Internet. Of these, 30% claim to have used them on at least one occasion. When asked why, 86% said that curiosity had led them to investigate these public tools”.
I can tell you, based on reader responses to several articles I have written on so called “Kiddie Scripts”, and the background research for those articles, the tools referred to by these young people are readily available on the Internet.
I suspect that the typical Internet users would be outraged to see how readily available these free, and in many cases sophisticated, hacking tools really are.
The final statistic from Panda’s survey that interested me was the following, spoken to by Luis Corrons, Technical Director of PandaLabs.
“Even though the percentage is very low, we still come across too many cases of adolescent cyber-criminals, such as the recent high-profile case of the 17-year-old creator of worms for Twitter.
We estimate that just 0.5% of these are detected by the corresponding authorities. Those who are drawn into hacking out of curiosity may well end up discovering the financial potential of this activity, and becoming criminals themselves.”
So, is this type of teenage behavior a real threat, or just fanciful teenage thinking? I’ll leave it for you to decide.