The Offline Dimension of Online Crime

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - 9:00 am9:30 am

Jonathan Lusthaus, University of Oxford


The conventional wisdom is that cybercrime is a largely anonymous activity that exists essentially in cyberspace. The supposed anonymity of attackers feeds into a narrative that cybercrime is strange, new, ubiquitous and ultimately very difficult to counteract. The central purpose of this presentation is to dispute this view. When one looks for it, there is actually a strong offline and local element within cybercrime, alongside the online dimension. In a number of cases, offenders are physically known to each other and work together. Understanding this phenomenon is important for informing policy approaches that seek to address this challenge. The arguments made in this presentation are supported by fieldwork carried out over a 7 year period in some 20 countries, including cybercrime "hotspots" like Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Nigeria, Brazil, China and the USA. This included interviews with almost 250 participants from across law enforcement, the private sector and former cybercriminals.

Jonathan Lusthaus, University of Oxford

Jonathan Lusthaus is Director of The Human Cybercriminal Project in the Department of Sociology and a Research Fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. His research focusses on the "human" side of profit-driven cybercrime: who cybercriminals are and how they are organised. In particular, he is interested in issues of trust, cooperation and governance. Jonathan has recently completed a seven-year global study on the organisation of cybercrime published late 2018 by Harvard University Press under the title Industry of Anonymity: Inside the Business of Cybercrime. As part of this research, he has travelled to cybercrime hotspots around the globe and conducted almost 250 interviews with law enforcement, the private sector and former cybercriminals. Jonathan holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Oxford, where he was a Clarendon Scholar.

@conference {226321,
author = {Jonathan Lusthaus},
title = {The Offline Dimension of Online Crime},
year = {2019},
address = {Burlingame, CA},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},
month = jan,

Presentation Video