The UK police have launched an initiative to prevent young people from getting involved in cybercrime. They claimed that kids as young as nine have carried out attacks in the past. The move came after the police saw that children as young as nine have launched DDoS attacks in the past.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) has partnered with schools broadband provider Talk Straight Group, Schools Broadband, for a new education campaign.
For the campaign, students will be shown a warning message when they type in terms related to cybercrimes. They will also be redirected to the Cyber Choices website that explains the consequences of cybercrime.
A trial program was conducted in schools that reduced the number of searches for terms such as “booter” and “stresser” related to DDoS. The program will now be rolled out nationwide to over 2,000 UK schools.
Data collected by the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit revealed that its officers revealed a 107% increase in reports from the police cyber prevent network about students carrying out DDoS attacks from 2019 to 2020.
The average age for people referred to the unit’s Prevent team is 15. However, some of them are as young as 9.
At the same time, a 2019 survey of 430 UK schools conducted by the NCA revealed that over a fifth of schools in the UK reported that their students had unauthorized access to their school’s networks and equipment.
The proposed educational campaign will highlight the potential consequences of committing crimes online in an attempt to prevent cybercrime by minors.
“Education is a key pillar in preventing crime and these messages highlight the risks and consequences of committing cyber offenses, which can result in a criminal record,” said John Denley, deputy director of the NCA’s NCCU.
“Law enforcement plays a critical role in tackling cybercrime and keeping the country safe. School outreach is important to educate a younger audience and this initiative will continue to help divert young people away from criminality.”