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Online Crime Economics: Modeling Advertising and Retail Operations

Researcher: Nicolas Christin

Cross Cutting Thrusts: Business Risk Analysis and Economic Implications | Threat Analysis and Modeling


Security attacks such as search engine poisoning are often used to promote online retail businesses for goods of questionable legality (e.g., prescription drugs). We measure and analyze technical correlations (e.g., use of identical attack vectors for advertising) between such retailers, and the economic impact of these retailers, to better understand some of the economic forces fueling online crime.

Outcomes: We are producing a map of relationships between the major players in the retail side of online crime; dimension their economic impact; and characterize some of the supply chain relationships they form with other miscreants. Findings are documented in academic papers (USENIX Security 2011, ACM CCS 2011, ACM EC 2013).