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Last Updated: Friday October 31 2008 17:14 GMT

Crackdown on kid computer hackers

Someone using a computer

Lots of people think children learn new technologies quicker than adults, but some kids are taking things too far.

More and more kids are turning their talents to hacking, which means they use their computers to break into huge systems used by companies like banks.

Kids as young as 11 are spending hours on forums swapping their hacking tips.

But breaking into other people's computers isn't a game, it's illegal. Police take it seriously and they're coming down really hard on the hackers.

Miley Cyrus
Hackers broke into Miley Cyrus' emails
Information about our money, banks and transport systems are just a few of the things that are kept on computers and if hackers get into these systems it can cause chaos for millions of people.

Celebrities can also be targeted by hackers who try to find a way to access their private computer files.

That's what happened to Miley Cyrus, but last week, the teenager who hacked into her email account and stole personal pictures was caught in America.

In New Zealand, one teenager created illegal software and then sold it on to criminals. But he was also caught and fined thousands of pounds.

Punishment

Computer expert Chris Boyd said lots of kids don't realise how serious hacking can be, but warned the punishments can be tough.

"The kids who keep doing it get caught, they get found out. Hackers do regularly go to prison and it can ruin their future job prospects."