UK Computer experts say that the number of teenagers dabbling in hi-tech crime is increasing with many teenagers swapping credit card numbers, hacking tips and phishing kits.
Many of these young hackers have very poor technical skills so are very likely to get caught and arrested. Youth workers are concerned that these teenagers are risking their futures by getting criminal records.
Chris Boyd, director of malware research at FaceTime Security told the BBC: “I see kids of 11 and 12 sharing credit card details and asking for hacks.”
Many teenagers fall into low level crime when they are looking for exploits and cracks for their favourite games. The teenagers get caught up in communities and forums swapping malicious programs, knowledge and sometimes stolen data. Some teenagers even go on looking for viruses that can be used against popular social networking sites used by many young people.
Speaking about teenagers’ attempts, Mr Boyd told the BBC: “Some are quite crude, some are clever and some are stupid.”
Researchers at Symantec have collected many examples of teenagers who have managed to cripple their own PCs by infecting them with viruses they have written.
Many young criminal hackers are undermined by a desire to win recognition for their exploits. A reformed hacker, Matthew Bevan told the BBC:
“It’s about the thrill and power to prove they are somebody. The aim of what they are doing is to get the fame within their peer group”
“They spend months or years developing who they are and their status. They do not want to give up freely.”