Enhancing relationships between criminology and cybersecurity

Considering that cybersecurity and cybercrime are often used in the cyber world, should they be related? Cybercrime represents the study of all “cyber” crimes. When mentioned, it is generally referring to the field of study of traditional offences committed on the Internet, crimes that have been created and which take shape strictly on the Internet (McGuire & Dowling, 2013; Wall, 2001). On the other hand, cybersecurity is generally defined as a diverse practice area that encompasses the advocacy and implementation of policies, processes, and practices created to protect data, computer networks, and exploitation systems against individuals who attempt to gain unauthorized access (Carley, 2020; Fichtner, 2018). These two disciplines are particularly concerned and affected by the prejudices achieved through the Internet, and thus, these two disciplines should share theoretical and empirical concepts in the literature. However, it is possible to observe in the literature that these two fields are more approached and treated as two completely distinct scientific fields, each grouping their concepts, research questions, data types, and even their careers.

For this reason, researchers Dupont and Whelan (2021) decided to focus on the empirical relationship between cybercrime and cybersecurity. They mainly suggest that the concepts and field of cybersecurity would benefit from better conceptualization. This descriptive study first considers the origins of these two fields and the relational dynamics, thus focusing on the possibility of a continuum linking crime and security. They use Brodeur’s (2010) “high” and “low” policing theory to support their observations. They thus assume that cybercrime is at one end (representing the “low” aspect of the theory) and cybersecurity at the other (representing the “high” aspect).

Mainly, thanks to this article, it is possible to draw the following conclusions:

– The approach that the authors suggest, bringing together cybercrime and cybersecurity on a continuum, unites these two disciplines and provides a better overview of the somewhat vague relationship between them to this date.

– Cybersecurity means something different depending on its application level (i.e., human security, national security, or international security).

– The authors suggest adding prefixes or specifying what types of cybersecurity we are talking about, considering that its definition and the issues involved seem to vary depending on the context. This would make this area of ​​study easier to understand.

– The theory of Brodeur (2010) can be used to help the classification on a continuum of activities related to cybercrime and cybersecurity. Still, several issues and prejudices can be classified variably and differently between the two poles of study.

This article has a significant empirical contribution, considering that it establishes the first step towards better collaboration between criminology and cybersecurity. As the authors point out, there is a continuum between cybercrime and cybersecurity, and the two disciplines would benefit from working more collaboratively. Future alliances between the two fields that focus equally on the security of the “cyber” could contribute to essential advancements in the fight against cybercrime.

To cite: Dupont, B. & Whelan, C. (2021). Enhancing relationships between criminology and cybersecurity. Journal of Criminology. https://doi.org/10.1177/00048658211003925