Kids hack online games

Last updated 14:55 11/02/2013

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This post was originally published on Mashable.

Kids as young as 11 are using coding skills to hack accounts on social media and gaming sites, according to one report.

Antivirus firm AVG says children are writing malware to steal data and virtual currency from friends.

However, the hacks are still in their infancy, as researchers found errors that trace back to the original source. One author included his exact email address, password and additional information, revealing an 11-year-old boy in Canada. Most programming languages researchers found in the study were elementary, such as C# and Visual Basic.

As today's connected generations tinker with computers and smartphones at earlier ages, their familiarity with coding starts young. Worldwide initiatives are developing to teach kids to program, including CoderDojo and Codecademy. More children are learning to create their own apps, learning HTML and Javascript like a second language.

Kids need to be taught to code responsibly and educational guidelines should be implemented, says Yuval Ben-Itzhak, chief technology officer at AVG.

"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," Ben-Itzhak tells BBC.

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