• United States



Autism may be a hacker’s disease, but most still know right from wrong

Feb 06, 20122 mins
CybercrimeNetwork Security

I’m fascinated by a report linking autism to hacker behavior. And the crazy thing is that I find the whole idea believable.

The Channel 4 report focuses on a 39-year-old named Dylan Wilson — diagnosed as a teenager with the form of autism known as Asperger Syndrome. Wilson describes how he has spent much of his life in his bedroom, preferring life in the online world to the world on the other side of the door. 

“People with Asperger Syndrome think logically, computers think the same. It’s like we think alike,” he told Channel 4. “You could say a dog is a man’s best friend: computers are our best friend.” 

The report follows an acknowledgement a few months back by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that he suffers from the “hacker’s disease.”

“I am — all hackers are, and I would argue all men are — a little bit autistic,” Assange wrote in his autobiography. 

Autism is also claimed in the case of hacker Gary McKinnon, who admits to hacking into US government computer systems a decade ago looking for information about UFOs. 

Do I believe in the notion that some people become hackers because  they suffer from an obsessive condition? Sure. I have clinical OCD myself, and know first hand that mental disorder can lead you deep down the rabbit hole. 

Do people like this deserve leniency when they’re caught breaking into government systems? Absolutely not.

Despite what mental disorders like this can do to a person, most still understand right from wrong. If you knowingly break the law, you’re going to get prosecuted like everyone else. When you try to get away with it by blaming it on your mental condition, you insult the vast majority of us who play by the rules and accept responsibility for our behavior despite our issues.

Just sayin’.