Increasing the Impact of Voluntary Action Against Cybercrime

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Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

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Resources on the Internet allow constant communication and data sharing between Internet users. While these resources keep vital information flowing, cybercriminals can easily compromise and abuse them, using them as a platform for fraud and misuse. Every day, we observe millions of internet-connected resources are being abused in criminal activities, ranging from poorly-configured Internet of Things (IoT) devices recruited into flooding legitimate services’ networks with unwanted Internet traffic or compromising legitimate websites to distribute malicious software that is designed to prevent access to victim’s data or device until a ransom has been paid to the attacker.

The Internet's decentralized architecture necessitates that defenders must voluntarily collaborate to combat cybercrime. While mandatory efforts may be necessary in some circumstances, the bulk of incident response will remain based on voluntary actions among thousands of Internet intermediaries, researchers and resource owners. These voluntary actions typically take the form of one party sending security notifications to another about potential security issues and asking them to act against it. Security notifications are intended to support and promote a wide range of feasible efforts, which aim to detect and mitigate millions of daily incidents and remediate underlying conditions. Despite its importance, voluntary action remains a poorly understood and significantly less investigated component of the fight against cybercrime. All of this puts a premium on understanding how voluntary cyber-defense efforts prove to be the most effective in remediating security issues.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • van Eeten, M.J.G., Supervisor
  • Hernandez Ganan, C., Advisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date22 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Cyber Security
  • Cybercrime
  • Abuse reporting
  • Vulnerability notifications
  • Walled garden notifications
  • Hosting providers
  • ISPs
  • Intermediaries


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