Following this weekend’s news that a teenager has been arrested on suspicion of gaining access to CIA Director John Brennan’s email address, David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab have the following comments on it.
The recent news that a 16-year-old is suspected of infiltrating CIA Director John Brennan’s email address is another staunch reminder that it’s frighteningly easy for teenagers to gain access to sensitive information and even find their way into the dark corners of the internet today. A recent Kaspersky Lab consumer survey found that 12 per cent of the UK’s 16 to 19-year-olds know somebody who has engaged in cyber-activity that could be deemed as illegal. Perhaps more worryingly, when asked how they’d feel if a friend managed to replace the homepage of a major bank with a cartoon and the story made headline news, over a third (35%) said that they’d be impressed.
Teenagers often seek approval from their peers, and an accessible dark web offers them the chance to put their cyber skills to the test to win some plaudits. For example, specialist browsers required to gain access are freely available online and discussion groups used by cybercriminals are often open to outsiders. Even more serious problems occur when the young people exploring or experimenting can become vulnerable to exploitation for more complex schemes. They may be drawn into fraudulent activity by playing the role of a money mule, or being asked to create a malicious program. It’s far harder to get out than it is to get in.
Parents can play a big part in countering this sort of online behaviour by creating an environment for their children where discussions are open and where both parties can agree on what constitutes as safe and ethical, and to understand the consequences of negative behaviour.
About Kaspersky Lab
Kaspersky Lab is one of the world’s fastest-growing cybersecurity companies and the largest that is privately-owned. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users (IDC, 2014). Since 1997 Kaspersky Lab has been an innovator in cybersecurity and provides effective digital security solutions and threat intelligence for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab is an international company, operating in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 400 million users worldwide.