Honor among thieves: A common's analysis of cybercrime economies

Sadia Afroz, Vaibhav Garg, Damon McCoy, Rachel Greenstadt

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    Underground forums enable technical innovation among criminals as well as allow for specialization, thereby making cybercrime economically efficient. The success of these forums is contingent on collective action twixt a variety of stakeholders. What distinguishes sustainable forums from those that fail? We begin to address these questions by examining underground forums under an economic framework that has been used to prescribe institutional choices in other domains, such as fisheries and forests. This framework examines the sustainability of cybercrime forums given a self governance model for a common-pool resource. We analyze five distinct forums: AntiChat (AC), BadHackerZ (BH), BlackhatWorld (BW), Carders (CC), and L33tCrew (LC). Our analyses indicate that successful/sustainable forums: 1) have easy/cheap community monitoring, 2) show moderate increase in new members, 3) do not witness reduced connectivity as the network size increases, 4) limit privileged access, and 5) enforce bans or fines on offending members. We define success as forums demonstrating small world effect.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publication2013 APWG eCrime Researchers Summit, eCRS 2013
    PublisherIEEE Computer Society
    ISBN (Print)9781479911585
    StatePublished - 2013
    Event2013 APWG eCrime Researchers Summit, eCRS 2013 - San Francisco, CA, United States
    Duration: Sep 17 2013Sep 18 2013

    Publication series

    NameeCrime Researchers Summit, eCrime
    ISSN (Print)2159-1237
    ISSN (Electronic)2159-1245


    Other2013 APWG eCrime Researchers Summit, eCRS 2013
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CitySan Francisco, CA

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Computer Networks and Communications
    • Computer Science Applications
    • Information Systems
    • Information Systems and Management


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