Despite 78% agreeing that it is wrong, 1 in 4 of UK’s children have tried their hand at hacking into others’ Facebook accounts mostly by surreptitiously using the victims passwords– that is the stark finding of a survey released today.

And it’s not just the boys – 47% admitting guilt are girls.

The study of 1,000 youngsters from London and 150 from Cumbria found that although 27% were doing so from the relatively safe confines of their bedrooms, these juvenile offenders are utilising computers in Internet Cafés (22%), the ICT suite at school (21%), and a friend’s machine (19%).

The most common reason was for fun (46%) however 21% aimed to cause disruption and a resourceful 20% thought they could generate an income from the activity.

However, there are some things that can be done to protect our online activity:

Install security software: anti-virus, anti-spyware and a firewall
Never disclose passwords or respond to emails that ask us for this information

Vary your user name and passwords between sites. That way if one account is compromised it can limit the damage of others being breached

Untick ‘remember me’ boxes for user name and passwords, especially for email accounts, online banking, social media websites etc. if your computer is used by other members of the household – and therefore possibly their friends

Be careful what you talk about in chat rooms, you never know who you’re talking to or who’s listening in. Someone with an ulterior motive could be gathering information spanning many months that individually tells you nothing but pieced together provides a complete picture

Periodically change your username and password, immediately if you suspect someone may know it.

Protect yourself against eavesdroppers and freeloaders by using encryption on your wireless network
Use a password manager such as Password Safe by Bruce Schneier

Source: Security Watch – Internet Security News: IT security, Business security, Computer security, Network security, and more