UK launches ad campaign aimed at deterring cybercrime

The UK’s anti-cybercrime agency has launched an online ad campaign with the end goal of raising awareness among the younger demographic that cybercrime does not pay.

To see the ads in action, navigate to Google from a UK location and enter keywords such as ‘stresser’ or ‘booter’ – there is a good chance that one of these will pop up, warning that such services are illegal.

The UK’s National Crime Agency launched a similar campaign in December 2017 with great results.

According to NCA senior manager David Cox, the ad campaign is targeted at UK males aged 13 to 22.

An act of knocking someone offline using a so-called booter can, in fact, get you in trouble with the law, which is something that many young adults and teenagers are not aware of.

According to the NCA, the average individual arrested for illegal hacking activities is 17 years of age.

As for the motive behind such deeds, it mostly boils down to impressing one’s peers, curiosity, a low perceived risk of getting caught, or overcoming an obstacle.

As it stands right now, the ad campaign will be running indefinitely.

It has reportedly generated 5.32m impressions and upwards of 57,000 clicks.

Richard Clayton, director of the University of Cambridge Cybercrime Centre, said that the NCA’s anti-DDoS ad campaign that was running between 2017 and 2018 was a great success due to it flattening the demand for booter services.

He also warned people not to fall for the booter providers’ marketing tricks – although they claim that their services are legal, they are not.

The pricing of a typical highly-powered DDoS attack package will set you back only a few dollars a month.

Ironically, the providers of such services also happen to be advertising them on Google, despite being in violation of the advertising platform’s policies.