It is well known that criminals, who operate outside the law and the protection of the state, face difficulties in cooperating due both to the requirement of secrecy and a deficit of trust. For cybercriminals the anonymity of the Internet creates further challenges, making it even more difficult to assess trustworthiness and enforce agreements. Yet, contrary to expectations, collaboration among cybercriminals is prevalent and a sophisticated industry is emerging. The purpose of this paper is to address this puzzle in relation to profit-driven cybercrime. It draws on existing empirical studies, along with a collection of interviews with former cybercriminals (and hackers) that provide a valuable form of data on micro-level and often secretive interactions. It examines four key mechanisms that lead to improved cooperation: reputation, appearance, performance and enforcement. It also addresses the rarely discussed, and somewhat counterintuitive, role that offline interactions may play in enhancing collective action among cybercriminals.

Full Paper: Honour Among (Cyber) Thiefs


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