Do teenage hackers exist in any significant number? More to the point – do they constitute a threat to your security on the Internet?
Hard statistics are understandably difficult to come by. But, in a study released last year by Panda Security, which looked at the Internet habits of adolescents between 15 and 18 years olds, we may have seen a least a partial answer.
Some of the general statistics brought out 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.
As an Internet Security Blogger, the following statistic though, 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”.
See today’s article – BitDefender Says Facebook Hacker: A Do-It-Yourself Kiddie Script Is On The Loose!
I can tell you, based on reader responses to a number of 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 user 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.
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