Oh, how times have changed. children as young as eleven years write malicious computer code to hack accounts on social networking sites and gaming sites to steal data and virtual currency from friends, according to one report by antivirus company AVG. Mm-hmm.
That’s not too surprising, really. Feeling out of your league, yet?
Truth be told, kids nowadays work their way around digital devices far sooner than previous generations.
In one instance, the “kiddie Trojans” a program that gathered login details from unsuspecting users of online game Runescape contained code that sent the information back to an email address in Canada. Researchers traced the email to an 11-year-old boy.
Majority of them were written using basic coding languages such as Visual Basic and C#. “Mostly kids writing malware are doing it to show off to their peers, by demonstrating ‘hacking’ ability. It could be stealing someone’s game logins. This might seem trivial at first, but online gaming accounts are often connected to credit card details to enable in-game purchases, and these may also have virtual currency accounts amounting to hundreds of dollars,” wrote AVG CTO Yuval Ben-Itzhak in an associated blog post.
“Furthermore, many gamers unfortunately use the same login details for social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, potentially putting the victim at risk of cyber-bullying, in addition to identity theft and major inconvenience,” he added.
“You can download Microsoft Visual Studio Express edition for free and use it to start coding malware, or you can download pirated full versions of Borland Delphi for rapid (malware) application development,” the report explains.
Watch this TED Talks video by Mitch Resnick, who advocates the benefits of teaching children how to write new technology and coding:
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.