Cybercrime: The Human Factor

Get Inside the Mind of a Cybercriminal
As society has gone digital, so has crime. Not only have new offences appeared, like hacking and attacks designed to take down websites or networks, but IT has begun to play an increasingly important role in some traditional forms of crime. Examples include internet fraud and cyberstalking.
Course levelAdvanced Bachelor/Master, open to PhD staff and professionals
Recommended course combinationSession 1: International Criminal Justice
Session 2: Laws in Antiquity: Crime and Punishment in the Ancient World
Session 3 
28 July to 11 August 2018 
Co-ordinating lecturerDr Rutger Leukfeldt 
Other lecturersProf. Catrien Bijleveld 
Form(s) of tuitionLectures, guest lectures, interactive discussions, applied research
Form(s) of assessmentPaper and presentation
ECTS        3 credits
Contact hours50
Tuition fee€1000
Students and professionals in the field of criminology, psychology, sociology and other social sciences with an interest in cybercrime, and students of technical sciences who are interested in the human factor in cybercrime. If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please let us know. Our courses are multi-disciplinary and therefore are open to students and professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds.

Digitization has consequences for the entire spectrum of crime and raises all sorts of questions. For example, are we dealing with the same old offenders simply moving their activities online? Or has a new type of criminal emerged, with their own characteristics and motives? What personal and contextual characteristics increase or decrease the risk of falling victim to cybercrime? And which actors are best placed to protect potential victims: the police, commercial cybersecurity companies, internet service providers, hosting services? 

This course tackles such questions by looking at cybercrime from the human perspective. Topics covered include criminological theories in the information era, victim and offender profiles, cybercriminal networks and, of course, fighting this form of crime. However, the exact nature of the issues addressed is largely up to you as a participant: at an interactive session in the first week, you formulate relevant research questions and then collect and analyse data with a view to presenting your findings at the end of the course.

This course is organized jointly with the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR), home to a world-leading research group on the human factor in cybercrime.

Two field trips to relevant organizations, such as the National High-Tech Crime Unit of the Dutch police, the National Cyber Security Centre and Eurojust.


Dr. Rutger Leukfeldt is senior researcher and the cybercrime cluster coordinator at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR). Furthermore, Rutger is director of the Cybersecurity & SMEs Research Center of the Hague University of Applied Sciences. Over the last decade, Rutger worked on a number of cybercrime studies for the Dutch government and private companies. Examples include studies into the modus operandi and characteristics of cybercriminals, a nation-wide cybercrime victim survey and a study into the organization of Dutch law enforcement agencies responsible for the fight against cybercrime. His PhD-thesis was about the origin and growth processes of cybercriminal networks. In 2015, Rutger received a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship (EU grant for promising researchers) to study the changing organization of organized crime due to the use of Information Technology. In 2017, Rutger received a Veni grant (Dutch grant for highly promising researchers) to carry out a study into the online and offline pathways into cybercriminal networks. Rutger is currently the chair of the Cybercrime Working Group of the European Society of Criminology (ESC) and member of the International Interdisciplinary Research Consortium on Cybercrime (IIRCC).

"With the digitization of society, crime also digitized. On the one hand there are new offenses, such as hacking databases and taking down websites or networks. On the other hand, there are traditional forms of crime where IT plays an increasingly important role in the realization thereof. Examples include Internet fraud and cyberstalking. Digitization has consequences for the entire spectrum of crime and raises all sorts of questions. For example, are we dealing with the same old offenders who moved their activities online, or is there a new type of offender with ditto characteristics and motives? Which personal and situational characteristics provide an increased or decreased risk of cybercrime victimization? And which actor is suitable to protect potential victims; the police, commercial cyber security companies, or Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and hosting providers?"

At the end of this course, you:

  • Are familiar with different forms of cybercrime.
  • Can apply traditional criminological theories to cybercrime.
  • Better understand the risk factors related to cybercrime victimization.
  • Will know the similarities and differences between cybercriminals and traditional criminals.
  • Are familiar with the use of online meeting places on the dark web by cybercriminals, including the effect of networks on criminal capabilities, issues around trust in an anonymous environment and so on.
  • Are familiar with the pros and cons of public-private partnerships in the fight against cybercrime.
  • Will understand the role of new “capable guardians” (other than the police) in protecting internet users.
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