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Exploring the social organisation and structure of stolen data markets

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  • Thomas J. Holt

Abstract

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 utilise information on their own, or sell the information in online forums for a significant profit. Few have considered the organisational composition of the participants engaged in the sale of stolen data, including the presence of managerial oversight, division of labour, 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 organisation 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas J. Holt, 2013. "Exploring the social organisation and structure of stolen data markets," Global Crime, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2-3), pages 155-174, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:fglcxx:v:14:y:2013:i:2-3:p:155-174
    DOI: 10.1080/17440572.2013.787925
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