Cybercrime is whose responsibility? A case study of an online behaviour system in crime

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Drawing on Sutherland’s theory of behaviour systems in crime, this study investigates social media fraud (SMF) facilitated by botnets to understand the onset and maturation of this new online offence. We find that potential guardians in the system – Internet of Thing (IoT) manufacturers, online social networks (OSN), web hosting companies, and law enforcement agencies – share a way of life that prioritizes private gains and avoids implicit responsibility for security. Potential guardians are organized in a Nash equilibrium that provides a weak and disorganized social response to crime. SMF providers, on the other hand, are cleverly organized and exploit weaknesses in security, adapting to change and developing working relationship with those who benefit from their activities and share their lenient behaviour towards fraudulent activities. We conclude that the rise in cybercrime is a result of the behaviours of all actors in the system, not just those who offend.

This content has been updated on 15 January 2018 at 11 h 52 min.