This article was published on December 9, 2015

According to the UK’s National Crime Agency, we’re basically all cyber criminals

According to the UK’s National Crime Agency, we’re basically all cyber criminals
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) — the UK’s version of the FBI — today launched a new campaign aimed at cutting cybercrime, especially amongst teens.

The cause is noble but whomever is responsible for it has a working knowledge of the Web that’s on par with, or below, that of your average house pet.

Most of us think of the average teen on the Web as a rather clueless kid that overshares on Twitter and Facebook, posts one too many selfies to Instagram, or sends suggestive self-destructing photos on Snapchat, all while pwn’ing noobs on ‘Call of Duty,’ texting and listening to EDM on Spotify.

The NCA has a different idea. One of a veritable digital Heisenberg-in-training that’s taking down networks, robbing banks and probably stealing a car… you wouldn’t steal a car, would you?

It starts with this commercial spot, but hang with me, it gets worse.

By the NCA’s definition, we might all be super hackers.

Here’s what to look for:

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 2.33.10 PM

In fact, all these “warning signs” would apply to my friends and colleagues that I spend the most time with each day. To demonstrate, and for the sake of lulz, let’s remove the word “child” and replace it with me, a 33-year-old reporter.

Is your 33-year-old spending all of their time online?

Absolutely. All of the coolest shit is on the Web. If I want to see the outdoors, I’ll go on Instagram and search #sunset or something.

Are they interested in coding? Do they have independent learning material on computing?

I’m learning trying to learn to program in Ruby right now. Alert the authorities.

Do they have irregular sleeping patterns?

To put it lightly.

Do they get an income from their online activities, do you know why and how?

Yes, yes I do. For the second part of the question, I called my mom to ask if she knew what I did online. “You design websites and write about robots and stuff, right?” — Half a point for mom, I don’t design websites.

Are they resistant when asked what they do online?

No, I’m not, but if I were a teen and most of my time online was spent on Pornhub, my answer might differ.

Do they use the full data allowance on the home broadband?

And our allotted mobile caps too!

Have they become more socially isolated?

Of course, I work at home. See, “Degradation of social skills” here.

As you can see, no parent should assume that any of these things are precursors to a life of infamy and really bad ass scenes of movie hackery, like this:

giphy (1)

In fact, the best campaign for this is probably what works best for a number of other teen problems: talk to your kids. Evaluate their mood/behavior/attitude. Speak to their teachers. In short, be present in their lives and we don’t have to worry about them turning out like the aforementioned “whiz kid” that’s well on his way to a most wanted list.

To put it simply, the list is bullshit and doesn’t constitute good parenting advice or proper opsec within the household.

So, based on what the NCA determined to be signs of cyber crime, I am indeed guilty… of something. Can someone please report me before I continue living this life of anarchy and mayhem?


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