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The geography of cybercrime – CoinGeek | #cybercrime | #infosec


This article was first published on Dr. Craig Wright’s blog, and we republished with permission from the author. 

In investigating cybercrime associated with digital currency systems or ‘crypto,’ it would be possible to create models that can help reduce the level of fraud and facilitate the tracing of funds associated with illicit activities. In addition, Buil-Gil and Saldaña-Taboada (2022) demonstrate that a small proportion of offenders is responsible for a large proportion of crimes. Therefore, analyzing criminal activity associated with fraud and money laundering attributable to geographically isolated and concentrated groups may be possible to reduce such forms of criminal activity.

The presence of a company within a certain country or jurisdiction can change their cyber threat profile. Chen et al. (2023) demonstrated that geographic factors heavily influence cybercrime. The same authors also note that there is a combination of political, economic, and social aspects that cybercrime brings with it, going beyond the technological and into concepts of cyber terror and crime. In comparison, cyber threats are not traditionally bound by a fixed geographic target.

Yet, the individuals who engage in such activities are physically located at a single point, and as Butkovic et al. (2019) have noted, it is possible to geographically profile the groups that are associated with cybercrime, allowing the geography of crime (Vandeviver & Bernasco, 2017) to be modelled. One example of cybercrime modelling is shown in a paper analyzing cybercrime in Morocco (Mustapha & Bensalah, 2019). Other examples can be seen in the reporting of transnational fraud as documented by United States law enforcement agencies (Zagaris & Mostaghimi, 2022).

Such investigations can be extended into exploring concepts of cyber warfare (Stoddart, 2022), including the development of darknet markets, organized crime, and ransomware deployed by proxy actors and states. In addition, the development of transnational fraud schemes links directly into cybercrime and dark market payment schemes. As Faccia et al. (2020) show, the lack of research into the geographical location of individuals involved with criminal activity leads to increased money laundering and terrorist funding.

While the online environment spans the globe, the Internet is linked to individual locations across the globe. As Miró-Llinares et al. (2020) demonstrate, the irregular geographical distribution of individual types of cybercrime provides opportunities for macro-level analyses of such topics extending into environmental criminology studies. E-crimes have been profiled using geographic information for several decades (Tompsett et al., 2005), yet, the dynamic nature of this form of criminal activity requires constant updating and continued research to remain viable.

Environmental criminology encapsulates a subfield of human geography that documents the behavior of a selected group within a global population. Geography is one of the five spaces of cultural criminology (Hayward, 2012), and integrating geographic studies into cybercrime may be seen as a new trend in profiling criminal activity instigated over the Internet (Bada & Nurse, 2021). Sharma (2019) notes that China and Brazil are the top players in global cybercrime. These countries each have significant digital attack capabilities, and engage in economic espionage. When coupled with digital currency and ‘crypto’ payments, these regions can produce highly capable cyber mercenary forces that can cause significant disruption in the global economy.

Annotated Bibliography

Bada, M., & Nurse, J. R. C. (2021). Profiling the Cybercriminal: A Systematic Review of Research. 2021 International Conference on Cyber Situational Awareness, Data Analytics and Assessment (CyberSA), 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1109/CyberSA52016.2021.9478246

Bada and Nurse (2021) are British researchers in the field of cybercrime. These individuals have each published extensively concerning cyber security and risk assessment. The authors have over 2000 citations between them and document the elements of cybercrime and its effects on global business. Together these authors have collaborated to produce a systematic review of the research on the profiling of cybercriminals. This paper contains a summary and analysis of 39 articles selected from a database search containing 3,189 papers (2,166 after the duplication). The selected articles were published and reported in English and specifically focused on the profiling of cybercriminals.

The authors noted that the majority of papers “included a definition on criminal profiling or offender profiling rather than cybercriminal profiling” (Bada & Nurse, 2021, p. 3). Of the papers reviewed, twenty-two articles were found to rely on new data, including surveys and interviews with criminals and law enforcement and court records, while the other papers focused primarily on studies of existing literature and mapping established approaches to cybercrime. The research also noted the development of a geographic profiling software system called GeoCrime, arguing that this is an essential component of understanding the offender when offenders use the Internet to obscure identity and location.

This paper is valuable in human geography as it applies to the geography of cybercrime activity in providing a framework to determine the state-of-the-art and research position as it applies to criminological theories and the modelling of information concerning geographic data. The authors argue that the lack of large data sets limits the ability to analyze systems across different jurisdictions and that collaboration between law enforcement officials, including data collection and sharing, should be enhanced. Finally, this paper investigated the research into geographic profiling and how this can apply to cybercrime investigations (Butkovic et al., 2019). This finding extended the initial research allowing for more detailed investigations.

Buil-Gil, D., & Saldaña-Taboada, P. (2022). Offending Concentration on the Internet: An Exploratory Analysis of Bitcoin-related Cybercrime. Deviant Behavior43(12), 1453–1470. https://doi.org/10.1080/01639625.2021.1988760

Buil-Gil and Saldaña-Taboada (2022) research the topic of quantitative criminology. Buil-Gil lectures at the University of Manchester, and Saldaña-Taboada is a PhD candidate focusing research on using Bitcoin and related digital cash systems in criminal business. Both researchers specialize in studying darknet spaces and publish in English and Spanish. The collaboration integrates the offending concentration related to criminal activity and notes that this applies to traditional criminal actions and cybercrime. In this analysis, the authors demonstrate that a small number of Bitcoin addresses are associated with many criminal acts.

This paper presents evidence that demonstrates that while “there is a rich body of literature about the ‘offending concentration’ for traditional, offline crime, while there appears to be a gap in research about the level of concentration of cybercrime among cyber offenders” (Buil-Gil & Saldaña-Taboada, 2022, p. 1456). In examining the geographic concentration of crime as it applies to criminal activity related to Bitcoin, the authors have demonstrated that the actions of criminals engaged in cybercrime are focused in selected geographic locations. While it is noted that some criminal activity that occurs online may target victims simultaneously across multiple countries, the offenders are generally geographically located together.

While the research has concentrated the analysis towards examining high-density Bitcoin addresses associated with multiple crimes, the source of funding locations also demonstrates geographically concentrated activity. The analysis of this information may enable the better coordination of policing activities related to cybercrime as the authors have demonstrated that a large proportion of cybercrime is focused on a small number of individuals or groups. Moreover, as Bitcoin addresses associated with a large proportion of cybercrime can be demonstrated to be concentrated, implementing recovery procedures may be more effective.

Butkovic, A., Mrdovic, S., Uludag, S., & Tanovic, A. (2019). Geographic profiling for serial cybercrime investigation. Digital Investigation28, 176–182. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.diin.2018.12.001

Butkovic et al. (2019) research criminology and are associated with the police support agency in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The authors are involved with various computer science schools and have published on cybercrime-related geographic profiling. Other earlier papers by the authors include geolocation and tracing suspicious or malicious emails (. et al., 2013). This work integrates the “geographic representation and visualization of crime scenes” (Butkovic et al., 2019, p. 176) represented in traditional criminal justice studies and demonstrates how cybercriminal profiling is conducted similarly with the same primary goals as for other criminal offences.

The paper documents processes associated with geographic profiling and the use of geographic Information Systems associated with computer-based systems in law enforcement. The research supports the conclusion that the distance of the criminal from a geographic target selection decays exponentially with distance allowing for the creation of criminal geographic targeting systems specifically associated with cybercrime, including those provided for traditional policing (Rossmo, 1999). This approach extends to both cybercrime that is conducted completely online and those such as ATM card skimming systems that form hybrid criminal activity.

The combating of cybercrime will require the integration of law enforcement responses across different geographical locations. By targeting the geographic profiles of individuals conducting criminal activity, it may be possible to collect and share data referencing the activities of individuals across jurisdictions. The result may be a system that allows for analyzing online criminal activity and sharing information associated with geographic locations, such as that provided by software products like GeoCrime. Without the ability to trace offenders, the ability of law enforcement to act is reduced.

Chen, S., Hao, M., Ding, F., Jiang, D., Dong, J., Zhang, S., Guo, Q., & Gao, C. (2023). Exploring the global geography of cybercrime and its driving forces. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications10(1), 71. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-023-01560-x

Chen et al. (2023) are researchers based in Beijing, China, associated with the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Nature Resources Research Academy. These researchers have focused on the geographic nature of criminal activity linking cybercrime to a conceptual framework of social, economic, political and technological effects mitigated through various security controls. The authors utilized the FireHOL IP blocklist in analyzing the geographic location of criminal activity and in mapping cybercrimes.

Structural equation modelling (SEM) developed by the researchers demonstrates a causal relationship between cybercrime and other contextual factors that mediate the socio-economic conditions that lead to criminal activity. This research investigates a combination of social, economic, political and technological factors and relates them to cyber security preparedness to create an overall model of criminal activity mapped against a global distribution of cybercrime IP addresses. The researchers note that the IP blocklist is limited in that the validity of IP-based technical data is related to evasion methodologies used by criminals which may result in true locations not being accurately captured.

The study results demonstrated that high-income regions host the majority of cyber criminal IP addresses, with lower and middle-income regions hosting fewer source addresses for criminal activity. The major factors associated with cybercrime demonstrate the location of attack points and, if tied into information associated with criminal prosecutions, could document the occurrence of criminal activity. The research demonstrates that criminal activity remains highly focused in geographic locations and areas where people are highly educated.

Faccia, A., Moşteanu, N. R., Cavaliere, L. P. L., & Mataruna-Dos-Santos, L. J. (2020). Electronic Money Laundering, The Dark Side of Fintech: An Overview of the Most Recent Cases. Proceedings of the 2020 12th International Conference on Information Management and Engineering, 29–34. https://doi.org/10.1145/3430279.3430284

Faccia et al. (2020) is a Dubai-based researcher with the University of Birmingham. The research specializes in the fields of information technology, tax evasion and blockchain. In conjunction with other researchers from related universities and associated groups that research cybercrime, the researchers have produced a paper on money-laundering and the darker sides of Fintech that has demonstrated the growing scandals within this industry. In addition, the research demonstrates the challenges with existing anti-money-laundering systems and the innovation in criminal groups.

The research is qualitative. The authors have conducted a systematic review covering the topics of safety, legality and the reliability of transactions related to blockchain-based systems. A combination of a literature review with a more in-depth analysis of selected papers questions whether it is possible to verify the behaviour of economic players and whether this can lead to identifying individuals involved with money-laundering. The research examines legal cases concerning a combination of cybercrimes, including those involving hacking and more prosaic uses of traditional crimes conducted over the Internet.

The conclusion of the paper demonstrates that “loss of meaning of geographical references make these markets attractive for the laundering of proceeds from traditional crimes or to make “sink” funds for illegal use, such as terrorist financing and corruption” (Faccia et al., 2020, p. 32). Distributed groups that act online while increasing the “rarefaction of personal relationships” make anonymity simpler and increase the difficulty of tracking individuals across geographically dispersed locations. Moreover, the national borders and jurisdictional controls lead to differences in enforcement activity and increase the difficulty of enforcing global controls.

Ghazi-Tehrani, A. K. (2023). Mapping Real-World Use of the Onion Router. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 104398622311575. https://doi.org/10.1177/10439862231157553

Ghazi-Tehrani (2023) has analyzed the Onion Router (TOR) network and its role in anonymizing connectivity associated with nefarious purposes. This author is from the University of Alabama, and this paper is the author’s first publication. In analyzing Tor usage patterns, the research has demonstrated that it is possible to create a snapshot of the sites visited, the temporal aspects of visits and why they are hosted from. Importantly, while it was demonstrated that most of your roles analyzed represented English-language websites, a sizeable number of Russian and Chinese sites have been used, correlating with utilization from countries where Internet access is censored or monitored.

Moreover, distinctions exist separating those involved with filesharing violations such as intellectual property theft, access to online drug sites, and access associated with information gathering in censored countries. Consequently, the research starts by examining and defining the Dark Web. This analysis looks at the popular media coverage of Tor and the difference between access towards hidden services based on .onion site references in those seemingly focused on avoiding surveillance activity from the government. Finally, the analysis of web traffic provides the researcher with the means of quantifying real-world use. However, the author notes that the “study is an attempt to quantify and categorize real-world Tor usage, not an effort to unmask users” (Ghazi-Tehrani, 2023, p. 6). This research helps in modelling the types of access made between users of anonymity services and could be correlated with information associated with digital currency offramps to improve the geographical mapping of user location in cybercrime activity.

Hayward, K. J. (2012). Five Spaces of Cultural Criminology. British Journal of Criminology52(3), 441–462. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azs008

Hayward (2012) is a professor of criminology analyzing the cultural and graphic components of crime. The author has nearly 7000 citations and has written on the topic for over 20 years. The current paper examines the role of geographic space and the tools associated with spatial analysis as they apply to criminology. To achieve this, the research contrasts the methodology developed in the Chicago School of Sociology with the techniques deployed within cultural geography. The research posits five fundamental spaces of engagement.

One new location is the creation of virtual or network space. While people inhabit physical space, the Internet has transformed criminal behavior. As Hayward (2012, p. 455) explains, “whilst ‘cybercrime’ is now an established area of criminological attention, most research focuses either on explaining and identifying various forms of online crime (e.g. ‘hacking’, ‘scamming’, ‘identity theft’, etc.) or developing ways to combat it, either through regulation and internet law or by policing the Internet and computer forensics”. In part, this research demonstrates the change in opportunity provided through a combination of decentralization and diffusion.

The concept of ‘interactional space’, connected with telepresence, describes criminal activity and aspects of digital culture studied by various cultural geographers. This also allows for the creation of groups and the interaction of individuals across different locations. When combined with privacy, people can create pseudo-identities and lead multiple lives while engaged in online criminal activity or other unsavory actions. Overall, this research is useful in understanding the cultural components of criminal activity and linking them to the psychological and geographical aspects of criminal justice studies. When related to subjects such as dark Web networks and online forums, this can also extend into discussions around electronic cash-based systems and other forms of monetary exchange.

Miró-Llinares, F., & Moneva, A. (2020). Environmental Criminology and Cybercrime: Shifting Focus from the Wine to the Bottles. In T. J. Holt & A. M. Bossler (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of International Cybercrime and Cyberdeviance (pp. 491–511). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-78440-3_30

Miró-Llinares and Moneva (2020) are each associated with the Centre for the Study and Prevention of Crime at Miguel Hernandez University, Spain. The authors are well-published and cited but primarily published in Spanish. The primary topics of research include criminal law, criminology and cybercrime. Together, these researchers have created a comprehensive handbook documenting cybercrime and cyberdeviance. This book documents and defines cybercrime, notes the evolution of computer crime into more modern cybercrime, and captures the use and abuse of technology and how the international community perceives this.

Research The chapter of the book these authors published focuses on the need to develop and apply prevention strategies. In documenting how these have been applied in the past, the research introduces an argument for developing concepts of environmental criminology associated with cybercrime activity. This thesis is based on the concept that “cyberspace might not change criminal motivations but significantly affect the opportunities and capacity of the guardians” (Miró-Llinares & Moneva, 2020, p. 492).

In addition, the patterning of cybercrime is examined to find methodologies to overcome the geographical gap in information and allow for the capture of activity patterns that are associated with criminal activity. Moreover, the neglect of criminal activity in cyberspace leads to other crimes and loss and “applications of the ‘crime and place’ approach, if it is understood that the ‘place’ of convergence of offenders and targets in the absence of guardians in cybercrime will generally be a digital place and provided that the implications of this are properly developed” (Miró-Llinares & Moneva, 2020, p. 505). Hence, geographic modelling of digital environments will likely provide highly effective tools to respond to the growing cyber threat.

Mustapha, E. H., & Bensalah, F. (2019). Cybercrime in Morocco A Study of the Behaviors of Moroccan Young People Face to the Digital Crime. International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications10, 457. https://doi.org/10.14569/IJACSA.2019.0100457

Mustapha and Bensalah (2019) are relatively new researchers with papers dating from 2019. The research is focused on Morocco but details activity that occurs globally. As the research notes, the study of social psychology can capture the behavior and attitudes of human actions but needs to be tied to geographical studies to ensure that the true interactions between the human and digital world are understood. The paper analyzed documents the behaviors of Moroccan youth engaged in cybercriminal activity.

By analyzing the actions of youths within Moroccan cities, the authors sought to create a theoretical framework for digital cybercriminal activity. This research examined the interaction between computer security, legislation and aspects of social psychology to develop a theory of planned behavior. As the authors note, this form of action “is intertwined with social psychology, which focuses on relationships that can link attitude to behavior in human action” (Mustapha & Bensalah, 2019, p. 458). The examination continued into a study of youth who were victims of cyber criminals and modelled the reactions of those people after facing loss through criminal activity.

The sample examined people around university age in a variety of Moroccan cities and determined that developing a framework to understand the psychological profiles of individuals associated with cybercrime is essential in developing management and control policies and strategies. The research is noted to form the basis of a future study designed to look at the quantitative psychological aspects of cybercrime.

Pagliery, J. (2014, December 22). A peek into North Korea’s Internet. CNNMoney. https://money.cnn.com/2014/12/22/technology/security/north-korean-internet/index.html

Pagliery (2014) is a journalist for CNN. This individual has documented the connectivity of the North Korean Internet hubs through China. As the author demonstrates, “[t]here are only 1,024 known IP addresses in the entire country” (Pagliery, 2014), whereas the United States has 1.5 billion IP addresses meaning that the connectivity available in the country is incredibly limited. Access to the Internet from North Korea is provided exclusively through China, with some backup links into Russia.

Despite this limited connectivity, the level of cybercriminal activity in this country is high (Lee & Ernst, 2022). Consequently, it would seem that the government of North Korea is intentionally using cybercrime to leverage its power and gain funds for the country. In part, the isolation of the country has led to the development of an isolationist attitude that treats other nations as prey.

Stoddart, K. (2022). Non and Sub-State Actors: Cybercrime, Terrorism, and Hackers. In K. Stoddart (Ed.), Cyberwarfare: Threats to Critical Infrastructure (pp. 351–399). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-97299-8_6

Stoddart (2022) is an associate professor in criminology and sociology from Swansea University, Great Britain. The researcher’s field of study includes cyber war, cyber warfare, nonstate actors and critical infrastructure investigation. The current work forms a chapter of an edited book on cyber warfare focused on threats to critical infrastructure. The work analyses a combination of cybercrime, terrorism and hacking as it may apply to critical infrastructure by examining nonstate and substate actors.

This work focuses on cyber threats that may pose a critical risk to Western nations. In particular, by looking at attacks by hacker groups, state-sponsored criminal activity and espionage, the author documents how nations leverage a variety of non-traditional methodologies, including espionage and terrorism and promote organized crime to bolster the national policy response and possibly engage in false flag activity designed to damage other nations. Moreover, the use of state-backed and state-sanctioned cybercriminal groups ties some of this activity into geographically focused areas.

The growth of the Darknet is demonstrated to link both white-collar criminals and black hat groups that can utilize the protection of governments to collaboratively form arrangements and co-opt a combination of hacking activity into the employment of government seeking to use a cloak of attribution as a shield protecting them from credit. Overall, this work incorporates some key aspects of the geographic distribution of people associated with cybercrime and aids in demonstrating how the protection of government agencies can increase cybercrime globally.

Tompsett, B. C., Marshall, A. M., & Semmens, N. C. (2005). Cyberprofiling: Offender profiling and geographic profiling of crime on the Internet. Workshop of the 1st International Conference on Security and Privacy for Emerging Areas in Communication Networks, 2005., 22–25. https://doi.org/10.1109/SECCMW.2005.1588290

Tompsett et al. (2005) are British researchers in the field of computer science, Internet crime and criminal law. The authors are not highly publicized but have collaborated to form an early paper documenting the need for increased protection over communication networks. The research integrates various fields, taking a multidisciplinary approach to tackle the problem. The paper provides an early analysis of academic and industrial research looking at criminology studies and notes how environmental and spatial factors of crime can apply to digital systems.

The study used honeypots and remote observation systems to capture and log activities. In this analysis, the researchers noted that criminal profiling is insufficient in analyzing electronic crime without the combination of specialist help from individuals able to capture information associated with geospatial distributions of activity and as the attacking machine may be geographically distant both in space and cyberspace, modelling applications analogous to those used in GIS should be developed.

Vandeviver, C., & Bernasco, W. (2017). The geography of crime and crime control. Applied Geography86, 220–225. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2017.08.012

Vandeviver and Bernasco (2017) have collaborated on several papers analyzing criminal activity. Each researcher is highly cited, with Bernasco having over 8000 citations. Together, these professors study spatiotemporal criminology, network criminology and issues of cybercrime or computational criminology. In addition, the authors integrate GIS information in the analysis of criminal justice. An example is a paper by Vandeviver (2014) documenting using Google Maps and Street View in analyzing criminological research.

While this paper does not focus on cybercrime, it documents the geographic frameworks associated with the policing of crime. All criminal activity has a physical component in the real world. While virtual space may have a pseudo-geographic location, it is also important to note that individuals associated with cybercrime act from physical locations and exist in the physical world. Consequently, geographic information modelling associated with cybercrime will likely provide new means of analyzing the behaviour of individuals and understanding the cultures they are located within.

The authors summarise the various theoretical frameworks and methodologies associated with analyzing crime, including distance decay and the concentration at micro places and integrate this into applications to aid law enforcement in policing. For example, while the focus is on the challenges associated with criminal hotspots concerning physical crimes, the methodologies associated with geographic profiling and predictive policing could also be applied to the analysis of criminal activity in cyberspace by looking at the real-world location the criminals are accessing the Internet from.

Wang, S., & Zhu, X. (2022). Evaluation of Potential Cryptocurrency Development Ability in Terrorist Financing. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice15(4), 2329–2340. https://doi.org/10.1093/police/paab059

Wang and Zhu (2022) are researchers from Beijing, China. These individuals have analyzed a variety of topics concerning policing, counterterrorism and intelligence. The current work is referenced by several other papers looking at financial crime and the impact of digital assets on money-laundering. This work documents terrorist financing and terrorist activities and notes how Cryptocurrencies offer new forms of funding and potential risks. Moreover, the authors demonstrate how the international status of digital money allows it to be transferred instantly around the globe, opening up opportunities for funding criminal and terrorist activities by nation-state actors.

The paper starts with a literature review of domestic and international terrorist financing strategies following 9/11. The research then moves on to analyzing the available evidence for analyzing the use of Cryptocurrencies by terrorist organizations and the motivations for these organizations to use Cryptocurrency. This section concludes by looking at the various measures implemented to track and trace the movement of money on Blockchain systems and to develop counters against the funding of illicit activity over ‘virtual asset service providers.

By analyzing the background of terrorist funding, the factors that are used in creating anonymity and the perceived lack of judicial supervision, the authors demonstrate the need to strengthen supervision across international FATF provisions. Moreover, several attacks have occurred on those holding Cryptocurrencies. However, the authors “[t]he loss of anonymization destroys the basic attributes of Cryptocurrency. Once Cryptocurrency loses anonymity, its advantages over traditional bank currencies are limited” (S. Wang & Zhu, 2022, p. 2337). Unfortunately, this demonstrates a widely held misconception concerning Blockchain-based systems such as Bitcoin, which are designed not to be anonymous and are designed to be traceable and may even be recovered due to not being encrypted.

Many of the existing use cases miss the point of a system such as Bitcoin, which delivers micropayment-level transactions at levels far below those capable of banks. Moreover, the traceability of Bitcoin offers the capability to follow the transactions globally, which is not available in the existing financial system. Overall, the discussion of geographic range and the ability to transact instantly may be mitigated by implementing identity-based controls. Finally, this paper provides ideas that could be implemented in systems such as Bitcoin to reduce the attractiveness of the system to cyber criminals.

Wang, Y., Arief, B., & Hernandez-Castro, J. (2021). Toad in the Hole or Mapo Tofu? Comparative Analysis of English and Chinese Darknet Markets. 2021 APWG Symposium on Electronic Crime Research (ECrime), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1109/eCrime54498.2021.9738745

Wang et al. (2021) form a collaboration of researchers from the University of Kent in England. The researchers are from the School of Computing and studying computer crime, Cryptocurrencies, law and electronic commerce. Wang led the research and is the main author. This study documents and analyses the differences between English and Chinese Darknet Markets. The authors have analyzed three English and two Chinese Darknet markets to understand illicit online marketplaces better. This analysis extends into a comparison based on six primary aspects of these operations.

To compare the differences between Chinese and English markets, the researchers split the operations into an operational model and structure, product categories offered, the policies associated with each market, the payment methods accepted or on the marketplace, the security mechanisms utilized and the characteristics of each vendor. The dataset spans seven weeks captured in mid-2021 containing information attributable to 384 vendors associated with English darknet markets and 4,429 Chinese vendors.

The analysis concludes that Chinese markets seem more liberal than those associated with English users. The variety of goods and services is wider and many products banned within English-speaking markets are available in Chinese markets. The authors note, “This information can provide useful insights for security researchers and law enforcement agencies in combating cybercrime” (Y. Wang et al., 2021, p. 1).

Zagaris, B., & Mostaghimi, A. (2022). Transnational Fraud and Cybercrime. International Enforcement Law Reporter38, 460.

Zagaris and Mostaghimi (2022) produce an enforcement report concerning transnational fraud and cybercrime. This report references complaints and charges concerning fraud and cybercrime globally. In addition, the report provides details of cases associated with international cybercrime. In this report, the author documents the U.S. prosecution of Nigerian businesses for email compromise schemes. While the author has produced these reports for several years, each report documents separate cases in the timeframe of the particular issue.

The current report captures the methodologies that are associated with these cases and some of the legal responses. Another report noted in this issue was the arrest of seventy-five Black Axe members who used a series of “lucrative cybercrime schemes that grabbed Interpol’s attention” (Zagaris & Mostaghimi, 2022, p. 462). As the report notes, this group relies on using the geographic diversity of members in laundering funds. While the group is geographically distributed, the meeting places are closely associated in cyberspace, demonstrating the difference between virtual and physical geography and the need to understand and map both.

References

. A., Mrdović, S., & Mujačić, S. (2013). IP geolocation suspicious email messages. 2013 21st Telecommunications Forum Telfor (FOR), 881–884. https://doi.org/10.1109/℡FOR.2013.6716371

Bada, M., & Nurse, J. R. C. (2021). Profiling the Cybercriminal: A Systematic Review of Research. 2021 International Conference on Cyber Situational Awareness, Data Analytics and Assessment (CyberSA), 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1109/CyberSA52016.2021.9478246

Buil-Gil, D., & Saldaña-Taboada, P. (2022). Offending Concentration on the Internet: An Exploratory Analysis of Bitcoin-related Cybercrime. Deviant Behavior43(12), 1453–1470. https://doi.org/10.1080/01639625.2021.1988760

Butkovic, A., Mrdovic, S., Uludag, S., & Tanovic, A. (2019). Geographic profiling for serial cybercrime investigation. Digital Investigation28, 176–182. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.diin.2018.12.001

Chen, S., Hao, M., Ding, F., Jiang, D., Dong, J., Zhang, S., Guo, Q., & Gao, C. (2023). Exploring the global geography of cybercrime and its driving forces. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications10(1), 71. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-023-01560-x

Faccia, A., Moşteanu, N. R., Cavaliere, L. P. L., & Mataruna-Dos-Santos, L. J. (2020). Electronic Money Laundering, The Dark Side of Fintech: An Overview of the Most Recent Cases. Proceedings of the 2020 12th International Conference on Information Management and Engineering, 29–34. https://doi.org/10.1145/3430279.3430284

Ghazi-Tehrani, A. K. (2023). Mapping Real-World Use of the Onion Router. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 104398622311575. https://doi.org/10.1177/10439862231157553

Hayward, K. J. (2012). Five Spaces of Cultural Criminology. British Journal of Criminology52(3), 441–462. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azs008

Lee, S., & Ernst, M. (2022). Cyber Arms Control on the Korean Peninsula: Challenges and Opportunities with a View to North Korea’s Asymmetry Strategy. In G. Boulet, M. Reiterer, & R. P. Pardo (Eds.), Cybersecurity Policy in the EU and South Korea from Consultation to Action: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives (pp. 119–135). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-08384-6_6

Miró-Llinares, F., & Moneva, A. (2020). Environmental Criminology and Cybercrime: Shifting Focus from the Wine to the Bottles. In T. J. Holt & A. M. Bossler (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of International Cybercrime and Cyberdeviance (pp. 491–511). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-78440-3_30

Mustapha, E. H., & Bensalah, F. (2019). Cybercrime in Morocco A Study of the Behaviors of Moroccan Young People Face to the Digital Crime. International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications10, 457. https://doi.org/10.14569/IJACSA.2019.0100457

Pagliery, J. (2014, December 22). A peek into North Korea’s Internet. CNNMoney. https://money.cnn.com/2014/12/22/technology/security/north-korean-internet/index.html

Rossmo, D. K. (1999). Geographic Profiling. CRC Press.

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