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Traditional Organised Crime and the Internet: The changing organization of illegal gambling networks

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - OCGN (Traditional Organised Crime and the Internet: The changing organization of illegal gambling networks)

Reporting period: 2017-05-22 to 2018-11-21

This title of this project was ‘Policing Traditional Organised Crime and the Internet: The changing organization of illegal gambling networks’.

There are a few EU publications on cyber security/cyber crime and the gambling sector. However, those that have been published have indicated that regulation is often on an ad-hoc basis and in an informal manner. This project therefore set out to address the impact, reach and threats that organised crime has and can cause to this under researched field. This proposal built on previous EU research but focused on cyber security prevention strategies and threats to and from organised crime to online gambling sites in particular. Since there is limited research in the EU on how these online gambling sites manage internal and external threats and inform the police of security threats this research set out to produce a set of recommendations for law enforcement, national and international EU policy makers and online gambling system managers that highlight best practice within the EU in preventing the threats to online gambling.

This proposal is novel in that it focused on the threat to the integrity of online gambling sites from organised criminal elements in the EU (most research on this subject is done in the USA), and their ability to withstand threats, intimidation and extortion and responses to these threats. It set out to assess EU gambling sites early warning systems and cyber security management techniques that enable them to efficiently process the flow of information from both internal and external sources, and analyse and where necessary exchange information on developing cyber security solutions to deter and prevent organised crime, which will complement previous, but still limited, research by EU mentioned above.

This objectives of this project set out to produce new information on the current state of gambling sites cyber security management techniques to deter and prevent threats to business stability and integrity from organised crime. The scientific objectives (SOs) of this research are: (SO1) to establish tools and techniques that will facilitate the management of internal and external cyber threats to the online gambling sector (SO2) to validate tools and techniques that will facilitate the management of internal and external cyber threats to online gambling sector (SO3) set standards of information management in online gambling sector (SO4) set standards of dissemination and flows of information to cyber security centres from online gambling sector. The impact of these will inform our current understanding of threats from organised crime to the online EU gambling sector and tools and techniques that need to be developed and disseminated across borders to prevent crime.

This project set out to fuse approaches from a range of disciplines and draw on academic, law enforcement and practitioners’ knowledge in preventing cyber crime in the online gambling sector.
The research completed in this project was limited due to the premature end of the project. (The project was from 22/05/2017-01/10/2017). The Marie Curie Fellow (MCF) was offered a new position the week this project started. The MCF worked his noticed period with the host institution. The Marie Curie Fellow was offered both promotion and the opportunity to manage and lead on his research project. Therefore the project lasted only for the time period stated above.

The project results achieved in this time were limited, but we (the MCF and supervisor) managed to complete a Literature Review (work package 1) and Case Reconstruction (work package 2). These work packages meant the project achieved Deliverable 1.

Due to the early termination of the project no interviews were conducted and Milestone 1 was in the fifth month of this project with only four months completed. Therefore, apart from the WP2 and WP2 above there is little exploitable data.

However, even though the project ended prematurely the Mare Curie Fellow and supervisor plan to build on this work and publish articles in the future. Therefore, whilst the data obtained in the time period is limited, it is intended that exploitable data from this project and that of a previous project conducted by the Marie Curie Fellow will lead to future presentations and publications with the supervisor.

WP1: The Mare Curie Fellow and supervisor engaged in the literature review. The Marie Curie Fellow's expertise is in cyber crime and cyber security and conducted a systematic widespread international review of all empirical and theoretical literature on cyber crime/security and organised crime and its use of technology to commit crimes, but with specific reference to the online gambling sector.

This literature review is to form the basis of future conference presentation(s) and publications.

Even though the project lasted for only four months some impact was achieved. It was clear that by securing a Marie Curie Fellowship it helped raise the Research Fellow’s profile which in-turn helped secured a lead role in a major research project and new position of employment. The success of this project, even if only approximately four months, helped progressing the Fellow from his then current role to one of leading on a cyber crime project in the Netherlands where he can build his own team of researchers. In future it is expected that the Fellow will successfully apply for EU research projects based on his Mare Curie Fellows involvement

A presentation by the Marie Curie Fellow and colleagues from a different, prior research project, presented a paper at the European Criminology Conference, in Cardiff 2017, which formed a basis for the case reconstructions (WP2) and data from an earlier project on organised crime/cyber crime completed by the Marie Curie Fellow. Therefore this presentation made reference to a previous project and the Marie Curie Fellowship project.

This project then can claim two clear impacts in a brief period of time: (1) Marie Curie Fellowship awards help raise the profile of researchers and mature into experts of the future; this is the case here as the Marie Curie Fellowship now has his own team, which he is supervising, and is lead investigator on a four year research project. (2) The presentation of one conference paper (and future publication(s) is indication of impact.

The project has not currently managed to publish.
Due to the premature end of the project the only results exploited and disseminated is the conference presentation mentioned above. However, the ongoing plan is that the Marie Curie Fellow and now ex-supervisor will continue to collaborate on this project and future EU research submissions where possible.

The current plans decided by the Marie Curie Fellowship and supervisor are to present a paper at the forthcoming European Criminology Conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina 2018 and to publish two articles: (1) on organised crime and it use of technology to commit crimes, and (2) organised crime and it ability to corrupt online gambling organisations. These publications will be sent to high-ranked journals.

The impact of the research is minimal with two conference presentations (one completed), and two future articles are the return on an approximately four month project, with the promotion of the Marie Curie Fellow to lead his own team of researchers on cyber crime/security project.
Panel Session European Conference 2017