Cybercrime Cluster

The aim of the cybercrime cluster is to study the ‘human factor’ in cybercrime: offenders, victims and other stakeholders, and issues surrounding the legal approach and regulation of cybercrime. We define cybercrime as all crimes in which information technology (IT) plays an essential role. A distinction can be made between ‘traditional’ crimes in which IT is used as a tool (e.g. internet fraud and the distribution of illegal content such as child pornography) and ‘new’ crimes in which IT is the target (e.g. hacking, spreading viruses, DDoS attacks).

Theoretical perspectives

Cybercrime includes numerous offenses and can be studied from different theoretical perspectives. In current research, for example, life-course theory and routine activity theory are used. Because little empirical research has been done into cybercrime, it is unclear whether – and to what extent – traditional theories of criminology can be used to explain cybercrimes. For example, the convergence in time and space of offenders and victims in the case of a hack is different than that of a burglary or mugging. Therefore, traditional theories form the basis to study cybercrimes, but these theories will be tested for their suitability in relation to cybercrime.

Research topics

Cluster members study offenders, victims and other stakeholders, and issues surrounding the legal approach and regulation of cybercrime. Examples of recent research carried out by cluster members include a study into the origin and growth processes of cybercriminal networks, the risk factors for cybercrime offending and victimisation, life-course factors and the influence of the personal networks, the effects of reputation, information diffusion and rule enforcement on trust in criminal networks operating on the dark web (the hidden parts of the internet where criminals interact).

Data sources

The cluster uses traditional data sources such as surveys, police files, the Social Statistical Database of Statistics Netherlands, but also big data from the dark web. In the future, they also want to unlock data from private parties (e.g. Internet Service Providers or cyber security companies).

NSCR is a member of the Amsterdam Cyber Security Center AMSec.



Cluster members

  • Rutger Leukfeldt (coordinator)
  • Marleen Gorissen
  • Renushka Madarie
  • Lukas Norbutas
  • Stijn Ruiter
  • Yaloe van der Toolen
  • Frank Weerman
  • Steve van de Weijer


Tamar Berenblum (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Thomas J. Holt (Michigan State University)
Johan van Wilsem (WODC)
Marleen Weulen Kranenbarg (VU University Amsterdam)
David Maimon (University of Maryland)
Chantal van den Berg (VU University Amsterdam)

(Inter)national collaborations

Cluster members collaborate with:
Leiden University (Johan van Wilsem)
University of Southampton (Anita Lavorgna)
Michigan State University (Thomas Holt)
University of Maryland (David Maimon)

Young people use alcohol and drugs while hanging out with peers

It sounds like stating the obvious to claim that adolescents use alcohol and drugs primary when they hang around with their peers...
Read more

1&2 October: Guardianship before, during and after a criminal event

Tuesday 1 October, 14.30 – 17.00, Colloquium Guardianship before, during and after a criminal event at the NSCR. Every criminologist knows the...
Read more
Visit news archive