Spam and criminal activity

Mamoun Alazab, Roderic Broadhurst

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


The rapid growth of the internet is transforming how we engage and communicate. It also creates new opportunities for fraud and data theft. One way cybercriminals exploit the vulnerabilities of new technologies and potential victims is the use of deceptive emails on a massive scale. In a sample of more than 13 million emails identified as spam, more than 10000 contained malicious attachments; nearly 1.4 million contained malicious web links. If opened, these attachments and links could infect the recipients' devices with software that allows cybercriminals to remotely access them. This paper describes how crime groups increasingly adopt novel approaches to cybercrime. Increased law enforcement capacity, the cultivation of high-level coordination between industry, government and police, and the further development of machine learning techniques should be at the forefront of government initiatives in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
Specialist publicationTrends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


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