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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/V026178/1
Title: Tracking Covid Cybercrime and Abuse
Principal Investigator: Anderson, Professor RJ
Other Investigators:
Beresford, Dr AR Hutchings, Dr A
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr R Clayton
Project Partners:
Department: Computer Science and Technology
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 14 July 2020 Ends: 13 January 2022 Value (£): 768,684
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Networks & Distributed Systems Security Studies
Social Stats., Comp. & Methods Survey & Monitoring
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Financial Services Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Around half of all acquisitive crime was already online before the start of the pandemic; it is now surging as many human activities move online chaotically, and cybercriminals adapt to the opportunities. This project will collect data at scale about online criminality, quickly enough to fetch malicious material before it is removed. We will not work alone but will promptly provide datasets to other researchers, and collaborate to create better analysis tools, analyse offender behaviour, and monitor the effectiveness of police and industry response. Our Cambridge Cybercrime Centre already collects data from underground forums, spam feeds, and industry partners, but we will ensure that pandemic related cybercrime Is prioritised and new datasets collected about online abuse and extremist views, such as anti-vaxxers. To scale up our work, we need to maintain and expand our network of honeypots and other sensors; extend our server cluster; scrape dozens more underground forums; and extend our collection of chat channels and illicit marketplaces - which are often found on Tor hidden services. We have an established ethical framework for data collection and a straightforward legal framework for data sharing, but a current bottleneck is that non-technical users can be swamped by what we provide, so we need to develop NLP tools to enable easier analysis of the data by researchers from other disciplines. We will also do our own analysis, for research to identify opportunities for law enforcement action, and to measure the effectiveness of responses by law enforcement and industry.
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.cam.ac.uk