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UK police try new tactics to stop teenage hackers

Hackers have been causing havoc since the inception of personal computers and the Internet. Most recently there has been an influx of cyber crimes committed by teenage hackers. We aren’t talking about cracking simple codes; these high school students are committing major cyber crimes, punishable in a court of law. In June of this year, UK authorities tracked down and arrested two people suspected of running the largest international English speaking online cyber criminal forum. They were charged with stealing and selling the details of the 65,000 bank accounts they had ransacked from computers infected with malware. The two alleged criminals were teenagers, 17 and 18, and still in high school.

UK police have decided to take action. British police think that they can scare these young hackers straight by paying them a house visit. They've been visiting teens in person when the kids become close to committing a crime that involves jail time, such as when they get access to a tool for denial of service attacks. The hope is that they'll realize the police, and subsequently their parents, are watching causing them to back off before they face charges that will impact the rest of their lives.

In addition to house calls, the British police have launched a campaign that includes video ads aimed at educating parents about the dangers associated with cyber crimes. However, the effectiveness of these tactics remains unclear, as the best hackers cover their tracks, avoiding house calls altogether. Former teen hackers describe being blind to the real-world consequences of their actions, feeling like they were attacking computers, not real people. The hope is that police visits could remind them that there's a potential victim on the other end.

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Wednesday, 22 November 2017
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