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Teen hackers study considers link to addiction

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Stephen Somogyi
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The study suggests young hackers could be helped by borrowing tactics used to tackle substance abuse

A study suggests there are parallels between the way youngsters turn into hackers and how youths become addicted to drugs and alcohol.

The report was written for the EU's law enforcement agency Europol.

The hormone dopamine can be released quickly as vulnerable youth achieve frequent and rapid successes online, and if these successes are linked to anti-social acts, such as hacking, they will be reinforced to pursue further ends to obtain their gains," it states.

The study suggests that educational programmes developed to tackle substance abuse and smoking could be adapted to help tackle cybercrime.

"In the American Psychiatric Association's last Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, internet addiction did not make it through," Prof Mary Aiken told the BBC.

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Stephen Somogyi
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