Malicious software poses a massive threat to individuals worldwide. Malicious software, or malware, can automate attacks in order to acquire sensitive information or interrupt critical infrastructures.
In this study, Thomas Holt and his colleagues looked at malicious software from a criminology point of view. By using a routine activities framework, the authors examined the macro-correlates of malware infection at the national level by using an international sample of known malware infections from an open repository. Routine activities framework is a beneficial theory to understand cybercrime as each of the component of the theory, a motivated offender, a suitable target and absence of a capable guardian, are present in the cyberspace.
The results of the study showed that countries with a substantive technological infrastructure were more likely to report malware infections. The political structure (for example democratic freedom) of a country also correlates with a high risk of infections. However the presence from a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), which means having a formal technical mechanism to mitigate and report infections, does not affect the likelihood of malware infections.
Routine activities theory is a beneficial framework to account for cybercrime victimization at the macro level. Holt and his colleagues suggested that there is a need to identify correlate of victimization in order to improved reporting mechanisms through government and law enforcement agencies.
Cite: Holt, T. J., Burruss, G. W. and Bossler, A. M. (2016). Assessing the Macro-Level Correlates of Malware Infections Using a Routine Activities Framework. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 6(62), 1720-1741.