Carnegie Mellon University
March 15, 2018

Nicolas Christin to testify before Congress on cybercrime

By Daniel Tkacik

The Institute for Software Research’s Nicolas Christin, an associate research professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy and Cylab, will be delivering a testimony before Congress today at 2 p.m., March 15, 2018, in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Christin’s testimony comes on the heels of a report from McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies estimating that cybercrime costs the world’s economy almost $600 billion, or about 0.8% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

In a hearing entitled, “After the Breach: The Monetization and Illicit Use of Stolen Data,” Christin will be joined by three others to testify on cybercrime:

  • Ms. Lillian Ablon, Information Scientist, RAND Corporation

  • Mr. Joe Bernik, Chief Strategist, McAfee

  • Dr. James Lewis, Senior Vice President, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Cybercriminals aggressively target both individuals and companies at an increasing rate and hack their personal and financial data as part of their criminal enterprises. Data theft is becoming a more lucrative illicit enterprise for cybercriminals because of its low risk of identification by law enforcement and high reward potential. Cybercriminals use online marketplaces to sell stolen personal and financial records, conduct ransomware attacks and identity theft, and steal corporate intellectual property.

Today’s hearing will examine the economics of cybercrime, the role of “Dark Web” marketplaces and cryptocurrencies to facilitate the monetization of stolen data, and the methods through which criminals and other nefarious actors integrate the ill-gotten gains into the legitimate financial system.

Christin’s research focuses on online crime modeling informed by empirical data measurements. Among his research accomplishments includes the first comprehensive measurement analysis of Silk Road, an anonymous, international online marketplace that was shut down by the FBI in 2013.