Computer hacker working at laptop

Cybercrime research

Explore our work in cybercrime, one of our 7 areas of expertise in Criminology

Cybercrime is already a serious concern for governments, law enforcement agencies, private organisations and the public – and the recent exponential growth in cybercrime shows no signs of stopping.

Our research deals with how crime takes place through the use of technology, and looks at the impact such crimes have on society and individuals. It also aims to understand the motives and methods of cybercriminals, to provide a better understanding of the challenges cybercrime creates and to find new methods for dealing with them.

Our work is regularly featured in leading industry publications – such as the International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, the British Society of Criminology journal, and the International Journal of Systems and Society.

Our research covers the following key topics

  • Cybercrime
  • Cyberterrorism and cyber warfare
  • Cybersecurity
  • Online subcultures and deviance
  • Digital investigations
  • Online politics
  • Information security management
  • Socio-technical perspectives on information systems security
  • Socio-technical perspectives on contemporary issues of digital technologies
  • Cyberlaw and human rights

Our work is already making an impact. Through our Cybercrime Awareness Clinic, we're collaborating with Hampshire Constabulary to generate research that helps them better understand the local landscape of cybercrime.

By working with vulnerable populations in the local community – such as older people or small and medium-sized organisations – our research within the clinic is helping develop more tailored, resource-efficient methods for responding to these crimes, and helping the police communicate more useful advice to the public about how to protect themselves.

Security practices and strategies within small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have not adequately kept up with dynamic and challenging security attacks and risks.

The latest cyber-security breaches survey (2018) shows only 27% of businesses have a formal security policy in place, and most organisations are still not aware of major Government cyber security initiatives and accreditation schemes. Our research aims to identify gaps in such practices, and proposes new ways in which businesses can secure themselves more effectively against the threat of cybercrime.


We analyse online subcultures, virtual communities and social network big data, to better understand cybercrime trends, and use a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods in our research, including interviews, focus groups, questionnaires, and user-generated online content, such as social media comments, forum posts, and blogs.

Partnerships and funders

We regularly collaborate on research with partners around the world, including Portsmouth City Council, Oxford University, Cambridge University, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (Australia), the Centre of Expertise Cybersecurity (Netherlands), and have extensive contacts with the South East Regional Crime Unit, the National Crime Agency, the National Cybersecurity Centre, and the Home Office.

Recent research funders have been funded by leading organisations such as the British Academy, the German Science Foundation and the Central Bank of the Netherlands. 

Publication highlights

Discover our areas of expertise

Cybercrime is one of our 7 areas of expertise in our Criminology research area. Explore the others below.

Economic crime

We’re looking at economic crime, assessing the methods used to combat it, and developing new ways to protect individuals and organisations from fraud, corruption, money laundering and intellectual property crime.
Man checking financial figures on calculator
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Forensic interviewing

We're exploring new and better ways to gather quality, reliable information from crime scenes and witnesses' minds – and helping develop protocols and practices that ensure this human data is protected and interpreted correctly.
Woman writing forensic studies notes on whiteboard
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Missing persons

In our Centre for the Study of Missing Persons, we're identifying patterns of behaviour that precede a person going missing and working to change the policies and practices that determine how such cases are handled.
Empty pairs of shoes left on the beach
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In the wake of a prolonged period of budget cuts, our work deals with the most-pressing issues facing the police service – from how police officers learn, to the individual factors that can influence an investigation.
Two police officers in busy street
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Probation, prison and penology

We're working to understand the role of punishment, and how it links with processes of justice and rehabilitation – and helping shape how criminal justice practitioners work, by linking theory to practice.
Prison interior between cell bars
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Forensic science

We're taking a closer look at how science can help identify, eliminate, reconstruct and inform the ways in which crime is investigated – including through fingerprinting and DNA recovery.
Female forensics working studying fingerprint on computer
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Research groups

Interested in a PhD in Criminology?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Criminology postgraduate research degrees page.