In recent years, numerous initiatives have focused on teaching coding skills to young students. However, a new report indicates that those efforts may have had some unintended consequences. Children as young as 11 have been caught hacking online games and social media sites–often trying to “steal” virtual currency.
A report by antivirus vendor AVG found that these young hackers frequently made mistakes–such as including their own email addresses and passwords in their code. The youngsters also generally used easy-to-learn coding languages like Visual Basic and C#.
“As more schools are educating people for programming in this early stage, before they are adults and understand the impact of what they’re doing, this will continue to grow.” said AVG CTO Yuval Ben-Itzhak. He added, “We cannot tell how many kids around the world are [writing malicious programs], but we believe there are more cases like this. You teach your children that you can’t take a toy without paying – so I think this type of a message needs to get to the kids when they’re writing software too.”