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CITP Luncheon Speaker Series: Damon McCoy – Framing Dependencies Introduced by Underground Commoditization

Tuesday, October 11, 2016
1:00 pm


Sherrerd Hall, 3rd floor open space
Princeton, NJ 08544 United States + Google Map

Lunch and discussion begin at 12:30 p.m. No RSVP required from current Princeton faculty, staff and students. Open to members of the public by invitation only. Please contact Jean Butcher at if you are interested in attending a particular lunch.

Internet crime has become increasingly dependent on the underground economy: a loose federation of specialists selling capabilities, services, and resources explicitly tailored to the abuse ecosystem. Through these emerging markets, modern criminal entrepreneurs piece together dozens of à la carte components into entirely new criminal endeavors. From an abuse fighting perspective, criminal reliance on this black market introduces fragile dependencies that, if disrupted, undermine entire operations that as a composite appear intractable to protect against.

In this talk, McCoy will describe his work on understanding the economics, capabilities and limitations of cyberciminal enterprises and how this has led to the disruption of the counterfeit pharmaceutical spam payment processing ecosystem. He will then talk about a similar ongoing study in the counterfeit luxury goods space. These examples illustrate that, by understanding the socio-economic underpinnings of cybercrime, we can undermine cyberciminal ecosystems more efficiently than by using purely technical approaches.

Damon McCoy is an assistant professor at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. His research focuses on empirically measuring the security and privacy of technology systems and their intersections with society. Some of his current projects explore the socio-economics of e-crime, censorship evasion, anonymous communication, cyber-physical systems.