World-first cybercrime index ranks countries by threat level

Sinister image of hand poised at keyboard for cyber-attack (cybercrime index)
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An international team of researchers have compiled the first ever World Cybercrime Index, which identifies the globe’s key cybercrime hotspots by ranking the most significant sources of cybercrime at a national level.

Australia comes in at number 34 on the index, with Russia topping the list, followed by Ukraine, China, the USA, Nigeria, and Romania.

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Co-author of the study, Dr Miranda Bruce from UNSW Canberra and the University of Oxford said the study would enable the public and private sectors to focus their resources on key cybercrime hubs and spend less time and funds on cybercrime countermeasures in countries where the problem is not as significant.

“The research that underpins the index will help remove the veil of anonymity around cybercriminal offenders, and we hope that it will aid the fight against the growing threat of profit-driven cybercrime,” Dr Bruce said.

“We now have a deeper understanding of the geography of cybercrime, and how different countries specialise in different types of cybercrime.

“By continuing to collect this data, we’ll be able to monitor the emergence of any new hotspots and it’s possible early interventions could be made in at-risk countries before a serious cybercrime problem even develops.

World Cybercrime Index map graphic
World Cybercrime Index map

“For the first time we have reliable data on the location of cybercriminals, and we also have a way to measure their impact. Government agencies and private enterprises tasked with tackling cybercrime now have a much better understanding of the scale of the problem in their own backyard.”

The data that underpins the index was gathered through a survey of 92 leading cybercrime experts from around the world who are involved in cybercrime intelligence gathering and investigations.

The survey asked the experts to consider five major categories of cybercrime, nominate the countries that they consider to be the most significant sources of each of these types of cybercrime, and then rank each country according to the impact, professionalism, and technical skill of its cybercriminals.

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The World Cybercrime Index has been developed as a joint partnership between the University of Oxford and UNSW and has also been funded by CRIMGOV, a European Union-supported project based at the University of Oxford and Sciences Po. The other co-authors of the study include Professor Ridhi Kashyap, from the University of Oxford and Professor Nigel Phair from Monash University.

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