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Crime and Cyber-crime. Pieter Hartel. Crime. Acts or missions forbidden by law that can be punished […] , against: persons (e.g. rape, assault, murder, suicide) property (e.g. fraud, arson, theft, vandalism) the state (e.g. riot, treason, sabotage, terrorism)

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  • Acts or missions forbidden by law that can be punished […], against:
    • persons (e.g. rape, assault, murder, suicide)
    • property (e.g. fraud, arson, theft, vandalism)
    • the state (e.g. riot, treason, sabotage, terrorism)
    • morality (e.g. gambling, drugs, obscenity)
  • Disorder is broader than crime, e.g.
    • Littering, graffiti, loitering, etc.

[Wil98] J. Q. Wilson and R. J. Herrnstein. Crime & Human Nature: The Definitive Study of the Causes of Crime. Free Press, Jan 1998.

Cyber-crime Science


Cyber-crime Science

cyber crime
  • Crime where computers are used as a tool, target or place:
    • Computer assisted crime

(e.g. Advance fee fraud)

    • Computer integrity crime

(e.g. DDoS attack)

    • Computer content crime

(e.g. Software piracy)

[New09] G. R. Newman. Cybercrime. In M. D. Krohn, et al, editors, Handbook on Crime and Deviance. Springer, Nov 2009.

Cyber-crime Science

technology and crime
Technology and crime
  • Which of these are “virtual”?
  • Which of these promote anonymity?

Cyber-crime Science

cyber space vs meat space
Cyber space vs “meat” space
  • “virtual” but that’s nothing new (why?)
  • More easily automated (why?)
  • Harder to police (why?)

Cyber-crime Science

some examples
Some examples

Cyber-crime Science

computer assisted crime
Computer assisted crime
  • Murder
    • 13-year old US girl bullied into suicide in 2006
    • 3-month old Korean child dies from neglect in 2010
  • Extortion
    • Virginia DHP ransom demand 10 M $ in 2009
    • BetCris hacker sentenced to 8 years in 2006
    • (New business )

Cyber-crime Science

computer integrity crime
Computer integrity crime
  • Distributed denial of service (DDoS)
    • Estonian Cyber war in 2007
    • Operation Payback end 2010 – mid 2011
  • Hacking
    • Comcast hackers sentenced to 18 months in 2008
    • Sarah Palin email hacker sentenced to 1 year in 2010
    • Hundreds of incidents

Cyber-crime Science

computer content crime
Computer content crime
  • Piracy
    • Pirate Bay four sentenced to 1 year in 2009
    • US Software pirate sentenced to 2 years in 2011
  • Data base theft
    • Sony Play station network hack in 2011 exposed 77M accounts, cost 171M$
    • exposed 1M passwords
    • TJX Hacker sentenced to 20 years in 2011

Cyber-crime Science

Old Crime


Labour intensive


Geographical place


Can be Simultaneous

Can be automated



Requires conversion to meat space


Cyber-crime Science

  • Most Cyber-crime a variant of old crime
    • False billing vs Phishing
    • Click fraud vs Replying to junk mail with bricks
  • Technology used for new crime before
    • Printing press for counterfeiting
    • Telegraph for books by Charles Dickens

Cyber-crime Science

cyber crime triangle
Cyber-crime triangle
  • A motivated offender “attacks” a suitable target in the absence of a capable guardian:
    • Attacks via vulnerabilities of the users
    • Attacks via vulnerabilities of the systems
    • Propagating attacks
    • Exploiting attacks

Cyber-crime Science

attack vulnerable user
Attack vulnerable user
  • Social engineer a user
    • 2001 SPAM with AnnaKournikova.jpg.vbs
    • Phishing (More later)
  • Hacking into server
    • Password cracker like L0phtCrack
    • Intelligence from OSN as in the Palin email hack

Cyber-crime Science

attack vulnerable system
Attack vulnerable system
  • Exploit known vulnerability and install malware on a client
    • Trojan like Zeus for key logging
    • Physical access via autorun
  • Find & exploit vulnerable system
    • Vulnerability scanner like Acunetix
    • SQL injection

Cyber-crime Science

propagating attacks
Propagating attacks
  • Change the web site on the server
    • Create a drive by download to infect a client
  • Create a botnet out of infected clients to:
    • Send spam
    • Perpetrate a DDoS attack
    • Evade detection

Cyber-crime Science

exploiting attacks
Exploiting attacks
  • Carding
    • CC theft (skimming, hacking)
    • trade (forum)
    • cashing (online auctions, counterfeit cards at ATM)
  • Online banking fraud
    • Credential theft (phishing)
    • trade (forum)
    • Cashing (money mules)
  • Cyber crime needs meat space…

Cyber-crime Science

  • Increasing specialisation of offenders
  • Increasing sophistication of the tools
  • Key crime opportunities: social engineering, vulnerable systems, and software issues
  • Motive is now mostly money
  • How to prevent all this?

Cyber-crime Science