For quite a while it has been suspected that there is a link between people with Asperger’s syndrome and others Autism spectrum disorders and cybercrime. This was highlighted by the arrest of British citizen Lori Love who is charged with having hacked the Federal Reserve, the US Army, the Department of Defense, NASA and the FBI. Love’s extradition to the United States to face charges related to these cybercrimes was approved by a British court and is presently on appeal in Britain.
While law enforcement have long believed there was a connection between cybercrime and Autism, there has been no scientific research in this area until now. The University of Bath’s Centre for Applied Autism, the cybercrime unit of Britain’s National Crime Agency and the charity Research Autism have begun a joint study to determine whether there is a connection between autism and cybercrime.
The researchers hope to come up with a better understanding of the motivations and characteristics of cybercriminals in general in order to use this information to identify people at risk of becoming cybercriminals to enable law enforcement and social agencies to act to prevent people, particularly vulnerable people on the Autism spectrum from becoming cybercriminals. Anecdotal evidence has tended to indicate that individuals with Asperger’s syndrome have been exploited for cybercrime purposes by criminals recognizing their computer skills that could be funneled into hacking and other computer crimes.