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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Dr Christopher Lawless

Akdemir, Naci & Lawless, Christopher (2020). Exploring the Human Factor in Cyber-enabled and Cyber-dependent Crime Victimisation: A Lifestyle Routine Activities Approach. Internet Research 30(6): 1665-1687.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Purpose:
The purpose of this study was to explore human factors as the possible facilitator of cyber-dependent (hacking and malware infection) and cyber-enabled (phishing) crimes victimisation and to test the applicability of lifestyle routine activities theory (LRAT) to cybercrime victimisation.

Design/methodology/approach:
A mixed methods research paradigm was applied to address the research questions and aims. The data set of Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW) 2014/2015 and 42 semi-structured interviews conducted with victims of cybercrime and non-victim control group participants were analysed via binary logistic regression and content analyses methods.

Findings:
This research illustrated that Internet users facilitated their victimisation through their online activities. Additionally, using insecure Internet connections and public access computers emerged as risk factors for both cyber-enabled and cyber-dependent crime victimisation. Voluntary and involuntary personal information disclosure through social networking sites and online advertisement websites increased the likelihood of being a target of phishing. Deviant online activities such as free streaming or peer-to-peer sharing emerged to increase the risk of cyber-dependent crime victimisation.

Research limitations/implications:
The binary logistic regression analysis results suggested LRAT as a more suitable theoretical framework for cyber-dependent crime victimisation. Future research may test this result with models including more macro variables.

Practical implications:
Policymakers may consider implementing regulations regarding limiting the type of information required to login to free Wi-Fi connections. Checking trust signs and green padlocks may be effective safeguarding measures to lessen the adverse impacts of impulsive buying.

Originality/value:
This study empirically illustrated that, besides individual-level factors, macro-level factors such as electronic devices being utilised to access the Internet and data breaches of large companies also increased the likelihood of becoming the victim of cyber-enabled and cyber-dependent crime.