Young people lured into cybercrime in Dutch police awareness campaign

Dutch police
A sign hanging in front of a Dutch police post. April 30, 2006Photo: M.M.Minderhoud via Michiel1972Wikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA

Over the past days the police ran an online awareness campaign to show Dutch young people how their experimental behavior can "turn into cybercrime" with just one click. Nearly 10 thousand young people clicked on links to learn how to steal game money on Fortnite, hack into an Instagram account, or buy a DDoS attack targeting their school. Instead they ended up at the police campaign site - "You're just one click away from cybercrime". 

For this campaign the police collaborated with vlogger Marije Zuurveld, a number of gamers and The campaign focused on three common cybercrimes - phishing, hacking, and DDoS attacks. 

Game platform IGN made a short documentary in which a hacker explained how through phishing he can easily steal V-Bucks - the online money in Fortninte. The hacker gave the link to a platform where young people can do the same, but that link lead to the police campaign. Dutch YouTube star Marije Zuurveld posted a link on Instagram that allows people to secretly log into another person's account. That too lead to the police campaign. And platform posted a link where pupils can buy a DDoS attack aimed at school portal ELO. They too were sent to the police campaign.

The campaign site provided more information about the cybercrime the young people were about to commit. A total of 9,456 people ended up on the campaign site, and the videos on the site were viewed over 500 thousand times in the past few days, according to the police. 38 percent of the young people indicated that they didn't know that they were about to do something illegal. 

According to Floor Jansen, the police expert in the field of youth and cybercrime, the first step in fighting cybercrime among young people is making them aware that it is punishable and informing them of the consequences. "That is not clear for many young people and therefore requires a joint effort. Not only from the police, but also from parents, educators, schools and other agencies. They also have to deal with this and have an equally important role in prevention. Parents and children should talk about this at home at the kitchen table."