The Trap of Technology: Why Young People Are Lured by Unethical Hackers
Despite common belief, ethical hackers do exist — and there has been a massive growth in this type of hacking, including prosperous career paths. However, Samantha Foss reports that black hat hacking continues to attract technology-savvy young people due to their avid fascination with risky online acts. It’s the technology trap reaching all-new heights.
In 2017, the National Crime Agency in the UK found that the average age of unethical hackers was a mere 17. And, in light of fairly recent events (such as the attacks on Rockstar and Uber), this still seems to be the case.
White Hat vs. Black Hat Hacking
Black hat and white hat hacking are separated by one thing — intent. The former use their technical prowess to maliciously compromise data. The latter uses their knowledge to support businesses, finding and securing system vulnerabilities.
Despite the thin line between them, young people are more easily interested in unethical hacking due to peer pressure or yearning for acceptance.
Humble Beginnings to Cybercrime Heights
The interest in hacking and coding tends to start humbly, with young people innocently taunting siblings or friends by hacking their laptops or smartphones.
But this could be considered the “gateway drug” to black hat hacking. Once invested, they begin finding forums outlining organizations’ vulnerabilities and acquiring tools to make their work easier. As they’re bolstered by information, young people expand their hacking abilities.
At this stage, harmless fun can become anything but.
While some teenagers will continue delving into the friendly hacking path, others try their hand at hitting larger targets like nonprofits, businesses, or schools.
But where does the lure stem from? Experts believe it’s mainly the ability to be both anonymous and powerful.
Young People Are Being Lured into the Dark Side of Hacking, And There Aren’t Any Clear Indicators
According to a November 2021 study, teenagers in the United States of America spend over seven hours a day utilizing a screen for gaming, schoolwork, social media, and more. So, it’s near-on impossible to tell whether they’re involved in cyberattacks.
Screen usage is pretty much expected by young people these days, making it difficult for parents, guardians, or teachers to catch a potential or current young black hat hacker without utilizing network monitoring tools. And that comes with ethical issues of its own — after all, there’s a fine line between surveillance and intrusion.
Putting Young People on The Right Technological Path
Young hackers’ minds are often packed with technical knowledge and newfangled approaches, which organizations could put to good, healthy use.
To steer teenagers onto the white hat hacking path, established ethical hackers and businesses searching for penetration testers should put themselves at the forefront. They need to have a wide presence in educational establishments and university career events to highlight the fantastic opportunities for young people to take advantage of.
Ultimately, the ethical hacking community and businesses have an essential role in preventing teenagers from being directed into the dark, black hat hacking world.