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The Art of Cybercrime Community Research

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Pastrana, Sergio 
Hutchings, Alice 
Afroz, Sadia 
Samtani, Sagar 


In the last decade, cybercrime has risen considerably. One key factor is the proliferation of online cybercrime communities, where actors trade products and services, and also learn from each other. Accordingly, understanding the operation and behavior of these communities is of great interest, and they have been explored across multiple disciplines with different, often quite novel, approaches. This survey explores the challenges inherent to the field and the methodological approaches researchers used to understand this space. We note that, in many cases, cybercrime research is more of an art than a science. We highlight the good practices and propose a list of recommendations for future cybercrime community scholars, including taking steps to verify and validate results, establishing privacy and ethical research practices, and mitigating the challenge of ground truth data.



46 Information and Computing Sciences, 4608 Human-Centred Computing, Basic Behavioral and Social Science, Behavioral and Social Science, 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

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ACM Computing Surveys

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Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (2276284)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) ERC (949127)
This work is supported by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 949127) (for JH and AH), grant TED2021-132170A-I00 from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, funded by MCIN/AEI /10.13039/501100011033, and the European Union-NextGenerationEU/PRTR (for SP). The work is also supported by the National Science Foundation under the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace programme (grant No CNS-1936370) (for WL), under grants OAC-2319325 (for SS), DGE-1946537 (for SS), OAC-1917117 (for SS), CNS-2338479 (for SS), and award No 2246220 (for EM).

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