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Academic Study Reveals Concentration of Cybercrime Threats in Select Countries

In their study titled “Mapping the Global Geography of Cybercrime with the World Cybercrime Index,” a team of academic experts concluded that a relatively small number of countries harbor the greatest cybercriminal threats.

The study, published on April 10, 2024, consulted 92 experts in cybercrime to identify which countries are the most significant sources of profit-driven cybercrime and to determine the impact of cybercrime in these locations. It focused on five key categories of financially motivated cybercriminal activities: Technical products/services, Attacks and extortion, Data/identity theft, Scams, and Cashing out/money laundering.

Experts evaluated the countries of origin for each type of cybercrime based on criteria such as impact, professionalism, and technical expertise of cybercriminals. State-based actors were excluded from the study, and the source of cybercrime was defined as the country where offenders are primarily based, rather than their nationality. Only countries formally recognized by the UN were included.

The resulting World Cybercrime Index (WCI) score highlighted Russia at the forefront with a score of 58.39, closely followed by Ukraine (36.44) and China (27.84). The USA (25.01) and Nigeria (21.28) rounded out the top 5, with the UK, India, North Korea, and Brazil also featuring prominently in the top 10.

This collaborative project between the University of Oxford and the University of New South Wales, Australia, received funding from CRIMGOV, an EU-funded project. Federico Varese, a professor at Sciences Po, Paris, and a co-author of the study, emphasized the potential for future iterations of the WCI to delve deeper into the socioeconomic factors influencing cybercrime prevalence, such as education, internet penetration, GDP, and corruption levels.

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