October 19, 2013 No Comments-
Teenagers: smart enough to hack, silly enough to make terrible life decisions. That’s certainly the case with these three teenagers from around the world, who have all been arrested for hacking within the last month. Who are these digital teenage troublemakers, and what can we learn about digital security from their actions?
The 16 year-old Londoner
The youngest of our three teenagers, a 16 year-old British hacker, was arrested for his involvement in the largest attack the internet has ever seen. We discussed this attack back in April, when one online group used tens of thousands of computers from around the world to crash another group’s web service.
Internet providers struggled to deal with the sheer volume of traffic generated by the attack, resulting in a decrease in internet speed particularly noticeable in central Europe. At its peak, the attack reached 300 billion bits per second – the equivalent of 12,800 songs being fully downloaded at exactly the same moment.
Suspicion on the 16 year-old grew after significant sums of money were seen flowing through his bank account.
The 19 year-old voyeur
Over in California, a teenage hacker was arrested for attempting to blackmail Miss Teen USA into sending him nude photos and videos.
The hacker, Jared James Abrahams, successfully hacked into her computer and gained access to her webcam. He then used this control to take and transfer photos of her to his own computer, and tried using these photos to extort even more explicit pictures from her.
Understandably, she contacted the police.
The $50k Argentinian
Meanwhile in South America, a 19 year-old working from his bedroom planted viruses on gambling websites to syphon cash from player’s accounts into his own.
It’s believed that the Argentinian, who worked as part of a group of six, was earning $50,000 a month from his nefarious affairs.
How to avoid the teenage hackers
Cases like the ones above are typical examples of criminals exploiting simple security flaws that can be easily remedied. They also demonstrate that on the internet, absolutely anyone can become a criminal.
It’s likely that the malware used by Abrahams, and the software used on the computers taken over by the Argentinian and the Londoner, could all have been prevented with better anti-virus protection. When it comes to it, most online criminals seek the easy route – unprotected PCs.
Therefore while it’s up to the police to catch the criminals, it’s vital that we all do our part to protect ourselves, and better inform our friends and loved ones about the importance of adequate PC protection.
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