The Use of Online Crime Markets by Cybercriminal Networks: A View From Within

Rutger Leukfeldt, Edward Kleemans, Wouter Stol

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In this article, we study the various functions of online cybercriminal meeting places from a unique perspective: We do not take the criminal meeting place as a starting point, but the users—the criminal networks. This allows not only for a view of what is happening on online meeting places, but it also places online meeting places into perspective. Our data consisted of detailed case descriptions of 40 cybercriminal networks active in the Netherlands (18), Germany (3), the United Kingdom (9), and the United States (10). Reconstructions were made based on analysis of police files and/or interviews with case officers and public prosecutors. Online meeting places play a role in the majority of our cases: to meet co-offenders, to buy tools, or to sell data. However, from a crime script perspective, the role of forums is much more modest. Forums, for example, can be used to find suitable co-offenders, but in the majority of our cases the core members did not meet at forums. Offline meeting places still play a...
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1387-1402
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Cybercrime
  • Online markets


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