1. Cybercrime


The aim of the Cybercrime group is to study the ‘human factor’ in cybercrime: offenders, victims and other stakeholders, and issues surrounding the legal approach and regulation of cybercrime. We define cybercrime as all crimes in which information technology (IT) plays an essential role. A distinction can be made between ‘traditional’ crimes in which IT is used as a tool (e.g. internet fraud and the distribution of illegal content such as child pornography) and ‘new’ crimes in which IT is the target (e.g. hacking, spreading viruses, DDoS attacks).
Rutger Leukfeldt
Rutger Leukfeldt

Cybercrime includes numerous offenses and can be studied from different theoretical perspectives. In current research, for example, life-course theory and routine activity theory are used. Because little empirical research has been done into cybercrime, it is unclear whether – and to what extent – traditional theories of criminology can be used to explain cybercrimes. For example, the convergence in time and space of offenders and victims in the case of a hack is different than that of a burglary or mugging. Therefore, traditional theories form the basis to study cybercrimes, but these theories will be tested for their suitability in relation to cybercrime.

Research topics in Cybercrime

The members of this group study offenders, victims and other stakeholders, and issues surrounding the legal approach and regulation of cybercrime. Examples of recent research carried out by cluster members include a study into the origin and growth processes of cybercriminal networks, the risk factors for cybercrime offending and victimisation, life-course factors and the influence of the personal networks, the effects of reputation, information diffusion and rule enforcement on trust in criminal networks operating on the dark web (the hidden parts of the internet where criminals interact).

Data sources

The Cybercrime group uses traditional data sources such as surveys, police files, the Social Statistical Database of Statistics Netherlands, but also big data from the dark web. In the future, they also want to unlock data from private parties (e.g. Internet Service Providers or cyber security companies).

NSCR is a member of the Amsterdam Cyber Security Center AMSec.

Experts on this theme

Prof. Rutger Leukfeldt

Senior Researcher

Dr Asier Moneva


Prof. Frank Weerman

Senior Researcher

Prof. Stijn Ruiter

Senior Researcher

Marleen Gorissen MSc

PhD Candidate

Dr Steve van de Weijer

Senior Researcher

Daniëlle Stibbe MSc

PhD Candidate

Hannah Kool MSc

PhD Candidate

Cybercrime: Recent news