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Vulnerable adults that can be exposed to becoming victims of cyber-crime are to receive training, funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner, that will better protect them and help others from being targeted.

It has been identified that vulnerable adults, specifically those that are on autistic-spectrum, have strong skills in IT. With natural abilities in this subject, and often being unemployed and socially isolated, autistic adults are easy prey for online criminals who encourage them to move into cyber-crime. It is hoped that these skills can go towards preventing this crime from affecting businesses and government by placing these adults into cyber-security roles.

The training, which is being carried out by the UK Cyber Security Forum and IASME (an information assurance standard for small and medium-sized businesses), has already been highly successful at attracting the individuals who are skilled at cyber-security and would otherwise be unemployed. By successfully placing these individuals in employment, it is expected that the number who move to cyber-crime will be reduced.

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “I made a commitment to build a more secure West Mercia, with a particular focus on crimes committed against the most vulnerable in our society. I hope this training will help not only protect vulnerable individuals within our communities becoming targeted by those involved in cyber-crime, but take their skills and fill a gap in cyber-security that has been identified.”

Dr Emma Philpott, CEO of IASME said: “With the fantastic support of the West Mercia PCC we are able to train and support talented, unemployed neuro-diverse adults into cyber security employment. By doing this we help the neuro-diverse individuals but also make the whole region a much safer place to live and work.”

A report, commissioned by Internet Matters, Youthworks and the University of Kingston has today highlighted that society’s most vulnerable children are also in need of extra support and care in their digital lives. The report has found that young people who are in care, have special educational needs or have mental health, physical or communication difficulties, are more at risk of online harms such as cyber bullying.

Issued on: Monday 18 February