NCA Launches Initiative to Divert Students From Cybercrime

After the number of cyber attacks on schools’ networks doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Crime Agency (NCA) announced the launching of a new initiative to divert young people away from cybercrime.

Cybercrime HackerData from the National Crime Agency’s National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) show that the number of reports of students involved in DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks from 2019 to 2020 increased by 107%. (Photo: Max Pixel, License)Data from the National Crime Agency’s National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) show that the number of reports of students involved in DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks from 2019 to 2020 increased by 107%.

In addition, the reports also include the use of stresser or booster services, which make DDoS attacks possible by denying access to a network or website, often creating huge problems for schools and colleges.

Many reports pertain to secondary school students, with the median age being 15 and the youngest nine.

The joint initiative of the NCA and Schools Broadband, part of the Talk Straight Group, aims at educating students searching for terms related to cybercrime on school computers, and has been implemented by more than 2,000 primary and secondary schools.

From now on, after students search for possibly dangerous cyber information at school, computers will send a warning message, suggesting redirection to the Cyber Choices website, which provides sufficient information on the Computer Misuse Act as well as cybercrime and its consequences.

“Law enforcement plays a critical role in tackling cybercrime and keeping the country safe,” Deputy Director of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, John Denley, said. “School outreach is important to educate a younger audience and this initiative will continue to help divert young people away from criminality.”

He said that this was a great example of the private sector helping deliver the Cyber Choices message.

CEO of Talk Straight, David Tindall, said that together with the authorities they are working on combating potential criminal activity proactively instead of tackling it afterwards.

“If we can educate children and inform them that these activities are dangerous and can result in criminal prosecution, we can potentially prevent a future cyber criminal,” he explained.

“This is our contribution, to prevent a ripple effect of online criminality, that has the potential to be felt beyond the individual and go nationally, and even globally,” he added.