The National Crime Agency has been looking at the ways the youth of the nation gets involved in cybercrime, and there's a lot more to it than simply buying a black hooded top and deciding to DDoS Barclays because of an unexpected overdraft fee.
The NCA's paper [PDF] on the pathways to cybercrime says that many hackers start out modding games, then naturally progress to harder forms of hacking without really pausing to notice or think about the boundaries between hijinks and criminality. This means that the sort of seemingly nice stay-at-home kids who don't partake of nighttime muggings are entering the criminal world by the backdoor as it were, ending up with criminal records for what they consider a bit of harmless server modding.
And they're not doing it for the money. The NCA says it's a weird kind of kudos thing, where kids are trying to breach security systems and cause trouble simply for the bragging rights the achievements come with, rather than for extortion or theft purposes. Which is... nice? Nicer?
Richard Jones from the National Cyber Crime Unit's Prevent team said: "The aim of this assessment has been to understand the pathways offenders take, and identify the most effective intervention points to divert them towards a more positive path. That can be as simple as highlighting opportunities in coding and programming, or jobs in the gaming and cyber industries, which still give them the sense of accomplishment and respect they are seeking." [National Crime Agency]
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