AVG: 11-Year-Olds Are Writing Malware

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In a recent blog post, Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CTO of AVG Technologies, said AVG's Virus Labs team has uncovered evidence that children as young as 11 years old are developing malware.

"Mostly kids writing malware are doing it to show off to their peers, by demonstrating 'hacking' ability," Ben-Itzhak wrote. "It could be stealing someone’s game logins. This might seem trivial at first, but online gaming accounts are often connected to credit card details to enable in-game purchases, and these may also have virtual currency accounts amounting to hundreds of dollars. Furthermore, many gamers unfortunately use the same login details for social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, potentially putting the victim at risk of cyber-bullying, in addition to identity theft and major inconvenience."

"The researchers found that many instances of malware targeting games popular with children shared the same characteristics," writes BBC News' Dave Lee. "Most were written using basic coding languages such as Visual Basic and C#, and were written in a way that contain quite literal schoolboy errors that professional hackers were unlikely to make -- many exposing the original source of the code."

"In one instance, a program that gathered login details from unsuspecting users of online game Runescape contained code that sent the information back to an email address in Canada," The Telegraph reports. "Researchers traced the email to an 11-year-old boy."

"Now, AVG is saying children must be taught the 'rights and wrongs' of coding by parents and schools, teaching them that using code to cheat or steal from a game is the same as theft," writse redOrbit's Michael Harper.