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How organised is organised cybercrime?


  • Jonathan Lusthaus


To some writers and commentators, fully fledged organised cybercrime is currently emerging. Law enforcement spokesmen and Internet security firms have even made comparisons between the structure of cybercriminal enterprises and organisations like La Cosa Nostra. But, in reality, conventional criminal labels applied to cybercrime are themselves often poorly understood by those who employ them. The purpose of this research note is to apply scholarly rigor to the question of whether profit-driven cybercrime can fit underneath formal definitions of organised crime and mafias. It proceeds in three sections: the first section outlines academic definitions of organised crime, mafias and cybercrime; the second section assesses whether online cybercriminal trading forums, perhaps the most visible and documented examples of cybercriminal organisation, might constitute mafias as some contend; the third section briefly discusses some other less documented examples of ‘organised’ cybercrime and assesses the broader possibility of online groups being classified as organised crime groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Lusthaus, 2013. "How organised is organised cybercrime?," Global Crime, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 52-60, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:fglcxx:v:14:y:2013:i:1:p:52-60
    DOI: 10.1080/17440572.2012.759508

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