A study set to complete this month aims to look at potential correlation between autism and traits of the condition and cyber-criminals. The traits appear to be more prevalent among cyber-criminals than for other types of crime but the link remains unproven. The hope is to direct this intelligence in to counter-terrorism programmes to help would-be cyber criminals.
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A number of corporates and commercial bodies have recognised the unique skills some with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have in pattern recognition and problem solving, specifically in the fields of cyber-crime and its prevention.
Alan Turing is widely believed to have been autistic and his skills were pivotal in cracking the Nazi Enigma code and helping the Allies win World War II. Microsoft, SAP, and Freddie Mac have run pilot programs for hiring people with ASD to work in IT and cyber-crime prevention positions.
Richard Jones, head of the NCA's National Cybercrime Unit Prevent team notes: "Understanding the profile of cyber criminals and the possible intervention points that can stop offending will help inform our delivery of cyber crime Prevent activity."
Disruption of the attractors to cyber-crime will help in the war against cyber criminals. Channeling those skills positively in to crime prevention can help keep us ahead of the constantly evolving art of the hacker.
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The team also want to understand more about the motivating factors that influence people to conduct cyber crime. It is thought that the challenge and sense of accomplishment that might come with cyber crime could be a motivating factor for certain people. There is a growing concern that this might outweigh the consequences of cyber crime in some people's minds, the researchers say.