The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has launched a new initiative that aims of educating youngsters on the consequences of launching DDoS attacks.
A study by the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) discovered that the number of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks launched against school networks and websites has more than doubled from 2019 to 2020.
According to the NCCU, many of the referrals were from secondary school children, with the average being 15 years old, and the youngest just nine.
It is believed that young people can fall prey to the denial-of-service attacks by firstly playing online games, and then falling into installing mods, hacks, and even remote access trojans to get the upper hand on their gaming rivals.
Research states that many young students do not consider it “wrong” to disrupt other players’ gaming experience because it is considered just “another way to win.” They believe that their peers are doing it so they can do it too. They certainly do not believe that the law will hold them accountable.
The initiative rolled out by the NCA to over 2,000 primary and secondary schools in the UK, ahead of going live at further schools and colleges across the country, will see students who search for terms associated with cybercrime greeted with access denied “block page.”
The warning message aims to direct students to the Cyber Choices website, which provides information about the Computer Misuse Act, and the consequences of breaking cybercrime laws.
But it’s not just a warning for those who search for “stressor” and “booter” services which provide an easy way to launch a DDoS attack against a school’s network.
The campaign also aims to influence young people, who might be considering engaging in cybercrime, to feel motivated to exploit their technical prowess in an ethical career in the technology, gaming, or cybersecurity industries.
The video concludes:
“Level up, don’t risk your future, know what’s legal and what’s not.”
Hopefully, initiatives like this will help some youngsters avoid taking the first steps into a life of cybercrime, and find a legitimate, legal career in technology instead.