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Survey shows UK teenagers attitudes to on-line crime

Trend Micro : 06 April, 2009  (Technical Article)
Trend Micro offers advice to parents after survey of Britain's youngsters reveals the extent of profile and e-mail hacking
Yesterday's kids used to wash their Dad's car or tidy their bedrooms to earn pocket money. But a new survey released by internet security firm, Trend Micro, has suggested that British teens might be tempted by dodgy online methods to make money. One in three teens (aged 12 - 18) admitted they would consider hacking or spying on people online if it meant they could make some fast cash. The survey exposes lack of 'e-morals' at a time where kids are spending a significant amount of their time online.

The survey, which polled 1,000 teens and parents across the UK, revealed that kids don't appear to have any sense of 'netiquette' when it comes to their online behaviour. It found:

* Over one in 10 teens thought it was 'cool' or 'funny' to pretend to be someone else online
* One in seven 12 to 13 year olds have actually done this
* Over four out of ten teens have hacked into another person's profile to read emails or looked at bank account details or logged onto another persons social networking profile
* One in three teens have admitted to being tempted to try hacking or spying on the internet to make money
* Boys it would seem, were almost twice as likely as girls to log into someone's social networking site
* Girls were up to three times more likely than boys to enter into someone's online shop or bank accounts without the owner knowing

It comes as little surprise that today's teens are parking their e-morals when one in three parents also admitted that they'd hacked into another person's online profile - be it their bank, email or social networking details.

"I have to say I am worried about what young people are up to online - it's scary when you think about it," said Linda Carpenter parent to Joe aged 15. "Hearing some of the recent stories in the media, it really makes you sit up as a parent and want to protect your child but there seems to be no easy way. I'm definitely concerned about his safety and what might be influencing him online."

"These results come as a stark warning to parents become a lot more familiar with what their kids get up to when online - especially as we're about to go into the Easter break," said Rik Ferguson, security expert at Trend Micro. "In the past, we've seen a large increase in this kind of behaviour in holiday periods. Parents need to ensure they lead by example at all times, clearly but appropriately lay down some simple family guidelines and make sure they oversee the online activity without being obviously intrusive."

Top tips for protecting your kids online:

* Keep all computers in common areas.
* Agree to time limits for using the Internet and all social devices.
* Keep software security up-to-date.
* Talk with your kids about entering personal information online.
* Run a manual scan with your software security and check browser history.
* Set profiles on social networking sites to private.
* Encourage children to be respectful of others.
* Teach children to have multiple passwords that are NOT associated with names, nicknames or commonly found information over the net.
* Most importantly, keep informed about the latest outbreaks and dangers on the Internet.

* Buy Trend Micro internet security 2009. The latest software has enhanced parental controls. This means that parents can better tailor controls depending on the particular family member. New functionalities include the ability to control the date and time each child can go on the Internet and also the option to specify categories of information (such as home addresses, telephone numbers, passwords, etc) they do not wish to be sent from a computer.
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