Chair: Rutger Leukfeldt

Cybercrime: different research methods to study cybercriminals

Building: B
Room: 31

Author: Hutchings Alice, University of Cambridge

Thomas J Holt, Michigan State University
Title: Interviewing the Interviewer: Qualitative Interview Approaches for Cybercrime Research
Cybercrime offenders are a difficult population to recruit and interview for research purposes. Due to the illegal nature of their activities, researchers need to take precautions in order to protect themselves, their participants, and the research data. With the aim of providing advice and insight to researchers who are considering qualitative interviews as a method for researching cybercrime offenders, we interviewed experienced researchers who have relevant experience. We explored the researchers’ experiences with recruitment, ways in which they interviewed research participants, ethical issues, and publishing their research. We obtained accounts of the difficulties associated with this area of research, and sometimes, how these difficulties have been overcome.
Keywords: Cybercrime, offender interview, research methods
Author: Leukfeldt Rutger, NSCR

Title: Unraveling Cybercriminal Networks by Analyzing Large Scale Police Investigations
Criminologist try to understand why crime occurs. One major problem is that it is hard to study the criminals that commit these crimes. Indeed, they try to hide their illegal activities for the public eye and are usually not very keen on talking to researchers. Police investigations, therefore, provide unique knowledge about cybercriminal networks and their members because of the wide use of investigative methods such as wiretaps and IP taps, observations, undercover policing, and house searches. Police investigations can be systematically analyzed using an analytical framework, providing insight into: the composition and structure of the network, the social ties between members, the use of violence and corruption, connections with legal economy and the division of money. In this presentation, I will discuss the pros and cons of using police files to unravel cybercriminal networks based on the analysis of 70 large scale police investigations and I will discuss the most prominent findings.
Keywords: Cybercrime, cybercriminal networks, research methods, police files
Author: Moneva Asier, CRIMINA Research Center for the study and prevention of crime, Miguel Hernandez University

Fernando Miró-Llinares, CRIMINA Research Center for the study and prevention of crime, Miguel Hernandez University Zora Esteve, CRIMINA Research Center for the study and prevention of crime, Miguel Hernandez University
Title: Anonymity-Publicity Index (Api): an Empirical Classification of Exposure of Online Users
Researchers working with social network data have been interested in understanding online user behaviour related to their anonymity and how this factor affects the publication rate or the dissemination of hate speech content. However, the operationalization of this construct is challenging. In this presentation we propose the creation of an Anonymity-Publicity Index (API) that allows to operationalize the degree of public exposure of social network users in an objective way. For its elaboration, a sample of 200 users has been collected through the Twitter Application Programme Interface Streaming and different variables related to their anonymity have been extracted. These and other variables created by the authors have served to build a data matrix based on the particular characteristics of Twitter cyber places (Miró-Llinares and Johnson, 2018). Subsequently, by means of an attribute weighting system, a specific weight has been calculated for each value of each variable. Then this value has been polarized according to whether its related to the anonymity of the users or their public exposure degree. The possibilities offered by the API are further discussed, illustrating its applicability in a specific scenario.
Keywords: Cybercrime, research methods, social network analysis, social, social media, Anonymity-Publicity Index
Author: Weulen Kranenbarg Marleen, Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam

Title: Cyber-Offenders Versus Traditional Offenders: an Empirical Comparison
Traditional criminological theories and explanation for offending are now being applied to a new type of offender: the cyber-offender. Those studies have shown that these traditional criminological explanations are to some extent able to explain cyber-offending as well. Nevertheless, it is still unknown to what extent the explanatory power of these traditional explanations is just as strong for cyber-offending as it is for traditional offending. To answer that question an empirical comparison of both types of offending is necessary. In this presentation I will discuss such a comparative study of cyber-offending and traditional offending. The data for this study includes both longitudinal registration data that can be used to compare cyber-offending and traditional offending over the life-course and cross-sectional self-report survey data of a high risk sample of Dutch cybercrime and traditional suspects (N=535). The survey data contains, among others, information about offending, victimization, the victimization-offending overlap, personal and situational risk factors, personality, personal social networks, and motives for committing crimes. In this presentation I will discuss the methods, the most important results and implications for both future cybercrime and traditional research, and practice.
Keywords: cybercrime, research methods, longitudinal, life-course criminology
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