Cyber Security Challenge UK has developed a working partnership with the NCA to produce free teaching resources to help parents and teachers across the UK to raise awareness of the issue of cyber crime amongst young people.
What is cyber crime
In this context cyber crime means any crime committed using a computer, computer networks or other form of information communications technology (ICT).
Examples of cyber crime include:
- Hacking – this involves gaining access into someone’s computer network without their permission, and then taking control and/or taking information from other people’s computers. Examples may include accessing the secure area on the school’s computer network and looking for test paper answers or trying to change test scores.
- Making, supplying or obtaining malware (malicious software), viruses, spyware, botnets and Remote Access Trojans is illegal. These programmes allow criminals to get into other people’s computers to carry out illegal activities. ‘Pranking’, by remotely accessing a friends computer when they don’t know you are doing it and messing around is still illegal.
- Carrying out a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack or ‘booting’ A DDoS is when a website is attacked by sending it lots of internet traffic. This means anyone who wants to visit that site won’t be able to access it. Booting someone offline whilst playing online games may seem like a harmless joke, but is still illegal.
Cyber crime is a serious criminal offence under the Computer Misuse Act. The National Crime Agency and police take cyber crime extremely seriously and will make every effort to identify and prosecute offenders.
- Young people/students getting involved with cyber crime could face:
- A visit and warning from police or NCA officers
- Being arrested
- Their computers being seized and being prevented from accessing the internet
- A penalty or fine Up to 10 years in prison for serious offences
- A permanent criminal record could affect education and future career prospects, as well as potential future overseas travel.
Many students will have an active interest in coding, spend a lot of time online and have independent learning materials. These are all signs of a healthy and positive interest in computing.
The UK needs as many people interested in coding as possible. Coding and programming are extremely valuable skills and if any student/students has an interest you should actively encourage them to do so – but in a lawful way.
Ways to use cyber skills positively
Skills in coding, gaming, computer programming, cyber security or anything IT-related are in high demand and there are many careers and opportunities available to anyone with an interest in these areas.
There are also a number of organisations to help students develop cyber skills:
- Cyber Security Challenge – a series of national competitions, learning programmes and networking in coding and programming.
- Inspired Careers – a virtual hub providing information on job and career paths in cyber security.
- CREST is a not-for-profit organisation that provides exams and qualifications for cyber security professionals and also accredits companies delivering specialist advice and services to help protect businesses and government organisations from cyber attacks
- UK Interactive Entertainment – the trade body for the UK games and interactive entertainment industry
- The Tech Partnership have links on tech apprenticeships
- Tech Future Girls – aimed at 10 to 14-year-olds; teaches girls skills ranging from coding to cyber security and video editing