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Violence Research Centre


Cybercrime: an invisible threat

On 27 February, the VRC is hosting Industry of Anonymity: Inside the Business of Cybercrime, a talk by Dr Jonathan Lusthaus, director of the Human Cybercriminal Project at the University of Oxford. It is based on the homonymous book, published by Harvard University Press in October 2018. Industry of Anonymity is an extensive account of the lives of cybercriminals and their vast international networks.

Cybercrime is invisible because its provenance is hidden by impenetrable layers of sophisticated technology. Criminals sit quietly behind keyboards and screens in relative safety, without even getting their hands dirty.

Lone hackers are a thing of the past, these 21st-century smooth operators are organised like a business, driven by profit and globally interconnected. The research behind the book includes seven years of fieldwork from Eastern Europe to West Africa, aiming to understand what drives individuals to this dark industry and how we can fight back this increasing threat.

PhD candidate Vincent Harinam, who proposed the event, said: Dr Lusthaus' book is an important contribution to the cybercrime literature. By drawing on interviews with cybercriminals, Jonathan goes the extra mile in illuminating the dynamics that underpin organised cybercrime. This fits perfectly with my own research on criminal networks on the dark web. I hope to expand upon many of the themes and threads Jonathan has touched on as they may be the key to halting future cyber threats.”

Mr Harinam’s supervisor, Dr Paolo Campana, an expert on criminal networks, commented: "Understanding how people cooperate and transact in the cyberspace is crucial to gain a full grasp of how cybercrime works. The seminal work of Jonathan has provided us with fascinating insights on this issue. We very much look forward to welcoming him at the Violence Research Centre."

Find out more about our event here.


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