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A crime script analysis of the online stolen data market

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Holt, TJ 


The purpose of this study is to better understand the online black market economy, specifically relating to stolen data, using crime script analysis. Content analysis of 13 English- and Russian-speaking stolen data forums found that the different products and services offered enabled the commodification of stolen data. The marketplace offers a range of complementary products, from the supply of hardware and software to steal data, the sale of the stolen data itself, to the provision of services to turn data into money, such as drops, cashiers and money laundering. The crime script analysis provides some insight into how the actors in these forums interact, and the actions they perform, from setting up software to finalizing transactions and exiting the marketplace.



online black market, stolen data, crime script analysis, underground economy

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British Journal of Criminology

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Oxford University Press (OUP)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/M020320/1)
This work was supported by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate, Cyber Security Division (DHSS and T/CSD) Broad Agency Announcement 11.02, the Government of Australia and SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific (N66001-13-C-0131 to A.H.); and the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice (2010-IJ-CX-1676, 2010, to T. H.). The opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the authors and do not reflect those of the aforementioned agencies.