Growing up as gamers, it’s fair to say there were certain games that posed huge challenges for us, just because they were suited for older players. That doesn’t mean we have to give up, since we can always rely on good old cheats or mods to ease our way through, until you realized these shortcuts might expose you to the world of cyber crime. This might sound absurd, but it’s part of a recent study on the links between accessibility of cheat codes and being a cyber criminal.
According to UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), they found that it’s easier for young people to developer cybercriminal skills and hacking chat rooms if they have access to cheat codes and game modes. The report is based on conversations between NCA researchers and young offenders, who were deemed to be motivated by a sense of "completing a challenge" and "proving oneself to peers". It was also easier for young gamers to conduct cybercrimes due to the existence of simple tutorials for Remote Access Trojan malware programs and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, while they also thought the absence of financial gain renders their online activities legal.
With that said, the head of the National Cyber Crime Unit's Prevent team suggests that this is a good opportunity for young people to redirect their skills to a proper outlet, such as the video games industry.
There is great value in reaching young people before they ever become involved in cyber crime, when their skills can still be a force for good. The aim of this assessment has been to understand the pathways offenders take, and identify the most effective intervention points to divert them towards a more positive path. That can be as simple as highlighting opportunities in coding and programming, or jobs in the gaming and cyber industries, which still give them the sense of accomplishment and respect they are seeking.
This latest finding might not do much in changing the minds of traditionally wired parents, but hey, at least your children’s job prospects are more or less secured if they are adventurous in trying out video games cheats and mods.