Source: The Telegraph

“parents are going to run up against huge difficulty trying to police their child’s use of the internet”

“Kids grow up with games nowadays,” says Omari. “Since they’ve introduced online and multiplayer games, the majority of kids spend all their time on their consoles – they will obviously interact with someone that has more knowledge than them. They meet other teenagers and hear about what they have done. The game can be literally anything.”

His are sentiments echoed by John Lyons, chief executive of the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance (ICSPA). The Treasury Select Committee said this week that it was soon to launch an inquiry into cyber crime “at the earliest reasonable opportunity”, and Mr Lyons is currently preparing a briefing document for Parliament on behalf of the ICSPA which works with governments and law enforcement agencies across the world. The issue, he says, has now reached “epidemic proportions”.

“These are children who’ve been honing skills on something as simple as Minecraft and other gaming sites,” he says. “Most parents want to challenge their children to get to grips with technology because in life that will do them a lot of good. But parents are going to run up against huge difficulty trying to police their child’s use of the internet. Any teenager that has the ability to download malicious codes will also have the ability to mask that from their parents.”

Lyons says key to stemming the flow of young hackers is addressing the whole culture of the internet, whereby it is seen as acceptable to illegally download music, films and games for free. “That whole ethos is getting content online without having to pay for it,” he says. “If we don’t start putting this alongside mugging old ladies and burgling homes, we are going to see more and more of this.”

Stuart Hyde, the former chief constable of Cumbria Police, spent a 30-year career investigating such old-fashioned crimes. He now sits on the Europol internet security advisory board, and agrees with Lyons that previous advice – such as introducing internet controls, or insisting children use a family computer – is no longer suitable.

“Years ago, the advice would be to keep the family computer in a room where parents can see what is going on, but that clearly is well out of date now,” he says. “Children have phones with them all the time and access the internet through their games consoles.”