Offending concentration on the internet: An exploratory analysis of Bitcoin-related cybercrime

David Buil-Gil, Patricia Saldaña-Taboada

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Abstract

Crime research has repeatedly shown that small proportions of offenders are responsible for large proportions of crimes. While there is a substantial body of evidence for this ‘offending concentration’ in connection to traditional offline crime, there is limited research assessing the concentration of offending for cybercrime. This research analyzes victim reports of Bitcoin-related cybercrimes (blackmail, ransomware, sextortion, darknet market fraud, Bitcoin tumbler fraud) to illuminate the extent of cybercrime offending concentration and to identify groups of offenders involved in online crime. Our results indicate that a large proportion of cybercrimes are associated with a small number of very active Bitcoin addresses. However, Bitcoin addresses associated to high numbers of reports are not necessarily those that generate the largest financial benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1453-1470
Number of pages18
JournalDeviant Behavior
Volume43
Issue number12
Early online date11 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Nov 2021

Keywords

  • Environmental criminology
  • Crime analysis
  • Lorenz curve
  • Online crime
  • Sextorsion

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