A new survey conducted amongst 600 parents across the UK by Censuswide on behalf of International Cyber Expo found that 40% of parents believe children will turn to cyber crime during the cost of living crisis.
The survey also revealed that 40% of parents have fallen victim to at least one security breach as a result of their children’s online activities, with 17% experiencing a breach twice and 10% experiencing a breach three times. The survey was commissioned to understand the changing behaviours and attitudes of parents towards their children’s online activity in light of the cost of living crisis.
There are some promising signs of change in attitudes to cyber awareness though, with over two thirds of parents agreeing that they will teach their children about the importance of online security because they can’t afford to be hacked. A further 63% of parents wanted their children’s schools to do more to educate their children on cybersecurity awareness when returning to school this September.
Worryingly, 62% of parents believe people will be more vulnerable to hacking with the crisis as people will be more desperate.
Simon Newman, International Cyber Expo Advisory Council Member and CEO of Cyber Resilience Centre for London, said “with hacking tools becoming increasingly accessible and affordable on the internet, we have witnessed a rise in ‘script kiddies’; inexperienced hackers who carry out cyber attacks. While ‘kiddies’ do not necessarily refer to the hacker’s age so much as their experience, many have been found to be teenagers.”
“In fact, in the UK the average age of a referral to the National Cyber Crime Unit is just 15 years old.”
As expenses continue to balloon, many parents are also rethinking their children’s online spending. In fact, 55% agree they will be more vigilant about what their children are spending online, while 42% agree they will reduce their children’s budget for online purchases.
Philip Ingram MBE, former senior British Military Intelligence Officer and Content Lead for International Cyber Expo adds, “rising costs will certainly put pressure on many households in the coming months and the consequences could go two ways.”
“On one hand, we will likely see children and their parents bombarded with a greater number of cyber threats, such as phishing emails which will bank on the public’s financial stress. On the other hand, we may see children turn to cyber crime to compensate for the lack of finances. It is during such periods of heightened emotions that the world of cybercrime thrives.”
Simon Newman concluded, “Although law enforcement agencies are working hard to take down the websites and forums that promote hacking, the results of this survey also demonstrate a need for parents/guardians to take an active interest in what their children are doing online to prevent them from falling on the wrong side of the law.”
The International Cyber Expo will take place from 27th-28th September at London Olympia, Kensington.