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A new survey has revealed that while 78 percent of them agree that it is wrong, a quarter of the kids asked admitted that hacking really is child's play.

The survey of more than 1000 children discovered that the boy hacker stereotype no longer holds true, with 47 percent of those who put their hands up to hacking activity being girls.

The most common scene of the crime would appear to be the relatively safe haven of the bedroom with 27 percent saying this was where they hacked from, while 22 percent were hacking in an Internet Cafe, 21 percent using the ICT suite at school and 19 percent a mate's machine.

When it comes to the reason why, the most popular cause of hacking as far as kids were concerned was simply for fun with 46 percent saying this. However, a worrying 21 percent wanted to cause disruption and mischief while 20 percent thought they might make some money from their hacking activity.

Although only a very small number, 5 percent of those asked admitted they were seriously considering making black hat hacking their career.

78 percent of the hacking kids who lived outside of London did so before reaching their 13th birthdays, while London kids were more likely to be older with 44 percent being under 16 but only 16 percent yet to enter their teens.

Facebook was the most popular target for the kid hackers, with more than a quarter admitting to having had hacked Facebook accounts compared to 18 percent for email and 7 percent online shopping sites. Only 5 percent tried hacking their school, and 6 percent their parents email.

The survey, conducted by IT security experts Tufin Technologies in conjunction with Cumbria Constabulary, also revealed that more than a third of those who had hacked found themselves also falling victim to hack attacks on their Facebook or email accounts.

Better news for the security minded reader comes from the fact that 27 percent of those asked had been caught, with 82 percent confessing hacking wasn't as easy as they thought and 70 percent admitting it was actually a pretty uncool thing to do.

Cumbria Constabulary’s Deputy Chief Constable Stuart Hyde ACPO lead on E-Crime Prevention and President of the Society for the Policing of Cyberspace (POLCYB) says "what this survey starkly highlights is that hacking into personal online accounts whether email or Facebook can be child’s play if users do not protect their own passwords. It illustrates the importance of keeping your passwords strong, secure and changing them regularly to help protect your accounts from unscrupulous people of all ages. We live in a world where social networking, email and the internet are embedded into our every day lives from a far younger age so early education is essential to ensure young people know the devastating consequences this activity can have. Only 53 percent of the children surveyed felt that hacking (i.e. using someone else’s account) was illegal which shows there is a real need to educate youngsters to the dangers both so they are deterred from trying it and also so they know how to protect their own accounts. Hacking is illegal and we need to ensure everyone understands that".

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