Interviewing cybercrime offenders

12 Jun 2018

Research on cybercrime offending and victimization has increased dramatically over the past two decades, though qualitative scholarship on more technical offenses such as computer misuse have not kept pace with this broader trend. The aim of this research is to identify potential best practices for researchers considering qualitative interviews as a method for researching computer misuse offenses, more commonly involving hacking techniques. The authors interviewed six experienced researchers who conducted qualitative examinations of active or incarcerated cybercriminals to understand their common experiences with recruitment, ways in which they interviewed research participants, ethical issues, and publishing their research. This analysis explores the difficulties associated with this area of research that are not typically discussed in the methods section of a research paper. The findings demonstrate the problems that emerge in research and the precautions researchers may need to take to protect themselves, their participants, and the research data.