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Exploring the Social Organisation and Structure of Stolen Data Markets

NCJ Number
Global Crime Volume: 14 Issue: 2-3 Dated: May - August 2013 Pages: 155-174
Thomas J. Holt
Date Published
May 2013
20 pages
This article discusses the Internet and the increase in the risk of theft and fraud by cybercriminals.
As consumers are increasingly using the Internet to manage their finances, there has been a concomitant increase in the risk of theft and fraud by cybercriminals. Hackers who acquire sensitive consumer data utilize information on their own, or sell the information in online forums for a significant profit. Few have considered the organizational composition of the participants engaged in the sale of stolen data, including the presence of managerial oversight, division of labor, coordination of roles and purposive associations between buyers, sellers and forum operators. Thus, this qualitative study will apply Best and Luckenbill's framework of social organization to a sample of threads from publicly accessible Web forums where individuals buy and sell stolen financial information. The implications of this study for criminologists, law enforcement, the intelligence community and information security researchers will be discussed in depth. Abstract published by arrangement with Taylor and Francis.