UK police are investigating and deploying possible solutions to a concerning trend of an increasing number of young individuals showing interest in hacking and other malicious cyber activities.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) reported that its National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) noticed a 107% increase from 2019 to 2020 in police reports about students deploying DDoS attacks.
As a countermeasure, the NCA is cooperating with Schools Broadband – a specialist Internet Service provider for the education market, to show warning messages to students searching for terms relating to DDoS and other cybercrimes.
LIFARS is an industry leader that develops proactive strategies and tactics against evolving cybersecurity threats. Our services, such as comprehensive gap assessment, red-teaming, penetration testing, threat hunting, and vulnerability assessment, reveal a company’s vulnerabilities. Our CIOs will ensure your optimal cybersecurity strategy and adequate posture.
With the new changes, children will no longer see the usual “Access denied” message when looking up terms related to hacking. Instead, they will be shown a warning message and an optional redirection to the “Cyber Choices” section of the NCA website.
The Cyber Choices program was created to educate people on the Computer Misuse Act, cybercrime, and the legal consequences that could transpire from engaging in malicious cyber activity.
Another goal of this program is to help people learn how to use their cyber skills beneficially and legally for the betterment of society.
The initial results from this action were positive, as the NCA noticed a significant drop in DDoS-related searches during a short 4-week trial run of the new measure in select schools across the UK. However, the survey couldn’t provide data on the impact that the Cyber Choices website had on the students.
“We need to equip this generation with the best digital skills and to assist them in making the right choices online. It’s great to see cooperation between law enforcement and the private sector in delivering important initiatives like this one to prevent students from getting involved in cybercrime,” – said British security minister Damian Hinds.
The NCA’s findings about increasing malicious cyber activity by young people is supported by research in the area. In 2017, University College London (UCL) found that more UK youth was involved in cybercrime than gang activity.
Additionally, according to data from the Millennium Cohort Study, children aged 11-14 are more likely to be involved in hacking activity than smoking or shoplifting.