Summer is the Time For Script Kiddies
Article by Rick Leinecker, June 3, 2007

Alice Cooper was interviewed on NPR several weeks ago. Since it's the end of the school year, my memory went back to the end of every year in high school when Alice Cooper's song "School's Out For Summer" played at full volume. And almost immediately my thoughts turned to those teens who have lots of time on their hands this summer to foray into the arena of cyber-adventure, most of which falls into a very gray legal area. We call these types script kiddies. They know just enough to download simple hacking software and give it a try.

Most script kiddies do it for fun. They want bragging rights. If they can deface a Web site or steal documents, their stature goes way up with their friends. Most of them are bored anyway since it's summer, and spending countless hours trying to hack Web sites gives them something to do.

The software they use can be freely downloaded from the Internet. The creators of this hacking software are looking for their own bragging rights - they want to be able to say that they created hacking software that any kid can use. If you want to check out some of these sites, go to the links at http://www.illegalworld.com/index1.html and http://www.governmentsecurity.org/HowtohackarticlesandHackingTutorials.php. (I absolutely DO NOT recommend that you download and use the software on these sites.)

Script kiddies are often able to exploit vulnerable systems and strike with great success. Here are some of the most famous examples. A 15-year-old script kiddie called MafiaBoy was arrested in an upper class neighborhood in Montreal in 2000. Using downloaded tools to begin Denial of Service attacks, he struck famous websites such as Yahoo, Dell, eBay, and CNN, causing roughly $7.5 million worth of damage. He pleaded guilty to 55 criminal charges and served eight months in a youth detention center. In 1999, NetBus was used to discredit a law student named Magnus Eriksson studying at the University of Lund. Child pornography was uploaded onto his computer from an unidentified location. He was later acquitted of charges in 2004 when it was discovered that NetBus had been used to control his computer. Jeffrey Lee Parson, an 18-year-old high school student from Minnesota was responsible for using the B Variant of the infamous Blaster worm. The program was part of a Denial of Service attack against computers using the Microsoft Windows operating system. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2005.

As always, make sure your computers are automatically updated - this helps mitigate the damage a script kiddie can do. And if you have kids who are out for school this summer, look over their shoulders once in awhile to see if they are the script kiddies we've been talking about .

Those are the basics of script kiddies.