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Purpose: This chapter is designed to provide an understanding of cybercrime, i.e. crime that involves a computer network. Basically anything that can be a “real-space” crime can also be done in some way using a computer network. Examples include fraudulent misrepresentation via email or the network distribution of child pornography. In addition, some crimes (such as data theft, or disruption of network) necessarily involve computers, computer software, or computer networks . In this chapter we discuss both types of cybercrime. We limit our focus to the international dimension – i.e. to crimes committed be people in one jurisdiction (or in an unknown jurisdiction) involving computers or networks in another jurisdiction. Finally, both national governments and non-state actors can commit international cybercrimes. For example, the Chinese hack of Google violated U.S. criminal law. Because national governments are not even in theory subject to domestic criminal process, we will focus on crimes committed by non-state actors.

Concepts Covered: This chapter divides into three parts. Part 4.1 explores examples of cybercrime and how cyber-criminals operate. Part 4.2 examines the limitations of domestic criminal law to address cybercrime. Part 4.3 looks at international efforts to regulate cybercrime, and the limits of those efforts.


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    1. 1.2 Show/Hide More Tyler Moore, et al., The Economics of Online Crime, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol 23, No 3, 2009
      This article explains black markets for cyber vulnerabilities, cyber-criminals, cyber-attack tools, money-laundering in the cyber realm, numerous cybercrimes, and the economic incentives of the actors who commit those crimes.
    2. 1.3 Show/Hide More Group IB, State and Trends of the Russian Digital Crime Market, 2011
      This report contains the results of the study of the state of the Russian cybercrime market in 2011. It examines the main risks associated with various types of hacker activities, analyzes the main trends in the development of the Russian cybercrime market, estimates the shares and the financial performance of the Russian segment of the global cybercrime market, and forecasts market trends for this year.
    3. 1.4 Show/Hide More Knafo, Anonymous And The War Over The Internet, Part I, 30 January 2012
      A profile of the hacktivist conglomerate “Anonymous”
    4. 1.5 Show/Hide More Knafo, Anonymous And The War Over The Internet, Part II, 31 January 2012
      A profile of the hacktivist conglomerate “Anonymous”
    1. 2.2 Show/Hide More National Research Council, Technology, Policy, Law, and Ethics Regarding U.S. Acquisition and Use of Cyberattack Capabilities, Chapter 5, 2009
      Introduction to law enforcement community and private sector community perspectives on cybercrime.
    2. 2.4 Show/Hide More Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 USC 1830
      The main anti-cybercrime law in United States
    3. 2.6 Show/Hide More U.S.-Canada Extradition Treaty
      Arts. 1-4 and Schedule at end
    1. 3.1 Show/Hide More The Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime
      This Convention was the first international treaty on cybercrime, and deals particularly with copyright, computer fraud, child pornography and network security. Its main objective is to pursue a criminal policy aimed to protect society against cybercrime by adopting appropriate legislation and fostering international cooperation.
    2. 3.2 Show/Hide More Ratifications of Council on Europe Convention on Cybercrime
      Note how few countries have ratified the treaty.
    3. 3.3 Show/Hide More Michael Vatis, The Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, Proceedings of a Workshop on Deterring CyberAttacks: Informing Strategies and Developing Options for U.S. Policy, 2010
      An introduction to Cybercrime Convention, but more than a little optimistic about its efficacy compared to the scale of the problem.
    4. 3.4 Show/Hide More Jack Goldsmith, Cybersecurity Treaties: A Skeptical View, Future Challenges in National Security and Law, February 2011
      This article explains why international cooperation is considered central to the cybersecurity problem and examines three major hurdles to a global cybersecurity treaty. It then considers the feasibility of narrower and softer forms of cooperation.
      Read pages 3-4 for a more skeptical view about the success of the Cybercrime Convention.

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May 21, 2013


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Jack Goldsmith and a Berkman Center Cybersecurity Team

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