How to keep teens from falling into hacking schemes

Teaching tech savvy kids

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Teens are far more technology-savvy than their parents in most cases, that's not a question.  The question is whether they know when and when not to use the tech skills they've acquired.

There was a case in the United Kingdom, according to WBTV Cyber Expert Theresa Payton, where six teens between the ages of 15 and 18 were arrested.  They were using a tool called LizardStresser which is an online tool for attacking websites.  Authorities say they hacked into a newspaper, their school and gaming companies.  Payton says the teens were swept up in what police called "Operation Vivarium".  This was led by the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA).  The NCA was watching the Lizard Squad which offered the tool online and which is the same group suspected of attacking Sony and Microsoft on Christmas of 2014.

"This should be a warning to all teens that you never know what could happen online," Payton said.

She reminds parents and teens that anonymous is rarely really anonymous online.  Payton says the teens suspected allegedly purchased the hacking tool using alternative payment methods including bitcoin in an attempt to stay under the radar.

"Have the 'moral compass' talk with your kids.  Just because they can doesn't mean they should and the rules in real-life also apply online," Payton added.

Payton looked at the numbers and learned that one-third of the people being arrested for similar crimes are under the age of 20.

Copyright 2015 WBTV.  All Rights Reserved.