Cybercrime

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A wide range of computer security threats exists—including faulty software, password trafficking and fraud, and hostile groups intending to inflict damage—and awareness of these threats varies. RAND has conducted research to measure and increase understanding of the impact of cybercrime on businesses and governments and has addressed such issues as the pros and cons of counterattack, the value of deterrence and vigilance, and actions that can be taken in the face of cyberattack.

  • Smart car 3D rendering, photo by Production Perig/Adobe Stock

    Research Brief

    When an Autonomous Vehicle Is Hacked, Who Is Liable?

    Jul 12, 2019

    Hacks on autonomous vehicles could lead to deaths, property destruction, ransomware attacks, or data theft. Several scenarios illustrate the policy challenges facing the civil legal system, insurers, and others.

  • Mock Bitcoins are displayed in Berlin, January 7, 2014, photo by Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters

    Report

    Terrorist Use of Cryptocurrencies

    Mar 27, 2019

    Counterterrorism finance strategies have reduced terrorist access to official currencies. Will terrorist groups therefore increase their use of digital cryptocurrencies? New ones have emerged, including some that claim to be more private and secure than Bitcoin, but they also have limitations that make them less viable.

Explore Cybercrime

  • Cyber illustration of a judge's gavel

    Commentary

    The Future of Cyber Investigations at the FBI Is Unclear

    Evidence presented by the FBI in the case of U.S. v. Jay Michaud was excluded because the agency was unwilling to reveal the software exploit used to collect it. If the FBI exposes its capabilities, other criminals can patch their computers, but concealing its techniques risks the ability to prosecute cyber criminals.

    Aug 24, 2016

  • News Release

    Untangling the 'Dark Web': New Study Shows Steady Growth of the Online Illicit Drugs Trade

    The number of transactions for illicit drugs on cryptomarkets, which exist on the “dark web,” have tripled and revenues have doubled since 2013, when Silk Road 1.0 was shut down by the FBI.

    Aug 8, 2016

  • Spider web

    Report

    Growth of the Online Illicit Drugs Trade

    Silk Road was the first major online marketplace for illegal goods on the hidden web. Since the FBI took it down in 2013, copycats have filled the void. Transactions for illicit drugs on cryptomarkets have tripled and revenues have doubled.

    Aug 5, 2016

  • Research Brief

    The role of the 'dark web' in the trade of illicit drugs

    The Internet has fundamentally changed ways of doing business, including the operations of illegal markets. RAND Europe was commissioned to investigate the role of the Internet in facilitating the drugs trade, particularly in the Netherlands.

    Aug 5, 2016

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives for a personal send-off for members of the Russian Olympic team at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, July 27, 2016

    Commentary

    How to Counter Putin's Subversive War on the West

    Russian cybercrime, Olympics doping, and other active measures have one thing in common: Moscow admits no wrongdoing. These scandals exacerbate the frigid relations between Moscow and the West. Diplomacy sometimes works slowly, but it helps.

    Aug 1, 2016

  • Guo Shengkun, China's Minister of Public Security, speaks during the Second U.S.-China High-Level Joint Dialogue on Cybercrime and Related Issues in Beijing, China, June 14, 2016

    Commentary

    The U.S.-China Cyber Agreement: A Good First Step

    The 2015 U.S.-China cyber agreement is a potentially important first step toward addressing the problem of Chinese espionage. But it is by no means a final step.

    Aug 1, 2016

  • Periodical

    RAND Review: July-August 2016

    This issue highlights the stress of military deployments and resilience of military families; RAND research on cybercrime, network defense, and data breaches; the 40th anniversary of RAND's landmark Health Insurance Experiment; and more.

    Jun 27, 2016

  • Eyeball on a laptop computer screen

    Essay

    The Digital Underworld: What You Need to Know

    A growing threat is emanating from a digital underworld where hackers sell their services like mercenaries and credit-card numbers can be had for pennies on the dollar.

    Jun 24, 2016

  • Illustration of data encryption

    Blog

    RAND's Lillian Ablon Presents 'Lessons from a Hacker'

    Lillian Ablon, a cybersecurity and emerging technologies researcher, spoke at a RAND Policy Circle Conversation on the world's expanding cyber vulnerability, those who are out there to take advantage of those vulnerabilities, as well as consumer attitudes toward breaches.

    Jun 1, 2016

  • Congressional Briefing Podcast

    Multimedia

    Getting to Yes with China in Cyberspace: Is It Possible?

    In this May 2016 congressional briefing, RAND experts Scott W. Harold and Martin Libicki discuss the differing perspectives and interests of the United States and China in cyberspace.

    May 2, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Good Practice Guide on Vulnerability Disclosure: From Challenges to Recommendations

    Vulnerabilities are 'flaws' or 'mistakes' in computer-based systems that may be exploited to compromise the network and information security of affected systems.

    Apr 27, 2016

  • News Release

    One-Fourth of American Adults Notified of Data Breach in Past Year; Few Consumers Penalize Hacked Companies

    About a quarter of American adults reported that they were notified about their personal information being part of a data breach in the previous year, but only 11 percent of those who have ever been notified say they stopped doing business with the hacked company afterwards.

    Apr 14, 2016

  • Infographic

    Data Theft Victims, and Their Response to Breach Notifications

    This infographic highlights the results of a study of consumer attitudes toward data breaches, notifications of those breaches, and company responses to such events.

    Apr 14, 2016

  • Woman typing into a laptop

    Report

    Few Consumers Penalize Hacked Companies for Data Breaches

    About a quarter of American adults surveyed reported that they received a data breach notification in the past year, but 77 percent of them were highly satisfied with the company's post-breach response. Only 11 percent of respondents stopped dealing with the company afterwards.

    Apr 14, 2016

  • View to an operating room through an office window

    Commentary

    Ransomware Hackers Are Coming for Your Health Records

    Cyber criminals may be preying on hospitals because cyber protection measures likely have not kept pace with electronic data collection and because hospitals typically do not have backup systems and databases in place, even though such attacks can strain health care systems and potentially put patients' lives at risk.

    Apr 11, 2016

  • Transportation soldiers and civilian harbormasters move cargo containers onto awaiting vessels in a training exercise at Joint Base Langley-Eustis

    Commentary

    Ten Years After the Safe Port Act, Are America's Ports Secure?

    The economic importance and visibility of America's ports make them attractive terrorism targets. Port security has improved, but many of the threats that motivated the Safe Ports Act in 2006 remain, and new dangers have emerged, including cyber threats.

    Apr 6, 2016

  • U.S. sailors assigned to Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command monitor, analyze, detect, and respond to unauthorized activity within U.S. Navy information systems and networks

    Commentary

    The Online Fight Against ISIS

    To prevail against ISIS in cyberspace, the United States and its cyber soldiers will have to be capable of reacting quickly, while being guided by an overarching strategy. Secretary of Defense Carter urged U.S. Cyber Command to intensify the fight against ISIS but it would also be wise to recruit civilian volunteers.

    Apr 1, 2016

  • A senior airman working in defensive cyber operations at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado

    Commentary

    Rather Than Fearing 'Cyber 9/11,' Prepare for 'Cyber Katrina'

    The United States needs a smooth, well-functioning mutual aid system for cybersecurity that provides all of the hard-won benefits of the nation's system for hurricanes and other emergencies.

    Mar 30, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the start of the climate summit in Paris, November 30, 2015

    Report

    Getting to Yes with China in Cyberspace

    The tensions that divide the United States and China apply just as much to cyberspace as to relations in the physical world. Can the two countries achieve meaningful outcomes through formal negotiations over cyber norms and rules?

    Mar 22, 2016

  • An NYPD officer stands across the street from the Apple Store on 5th Ave. in New York, March 11, 2016

    Commentary

    The False Choice at the Core of the Apple-FBI Standoff

    The Apple-FBI case should spark a broader debate among technology companies concerning their role in maintaining the privacy and security balance. A starting point should be to recognize that the majority of cyberattacks are related to phishing—and a user's action—not to whether a device can be secured.

    Mar 21, 2016