UK police try to scare teen hackers by visiting them at home

The cops hope that an in-person warning will keep kids on the straight and narrow.

As you might have noticed, many teen hackers aren't easily deterred. Why would they be when they have a lot to prove, loads of peer pressure and little sense of the damage they're doing? British police think they have a way to scare those hackers straight, though. They've been visiting teens in person when the kids are near committing a crime that involves jail time, such as when they get access to a tool for denial of service attacks. Naturally, the hope is that they'll realize the police (and soon afterward, their parents) are watching and back off before they face charges.

It's not certain how effective the strategy (which includes ads, like the one below) really is. Hackers can't get house calls if they're good at covering their tracks, and there will always be some teens who are convinced they'll never get caught. However, there is reason to believe that it should work. Former teen hackers (like LulzSec's Jake Davis) describe being blind to the real-world consequences of their actions -- they felt like they were attacking computers, not people. Police visits could remind them that there's a potential victim on the other end.

[Image credit: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images]