A systematic review of crime facilitated by the consumer Internet of Things

Abstract

The nature of crime is changing—estimates suggest that at least half of all crime is now committed online. Once everyday objects (e.g. televisions, baby monitors, door locks) that are now internet connected, collectively referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT), have the potential to transform society, but this increase in connectivity may generate new crime opportunities. Here, we conducted a systematic review to inform understanding of these risks. We identify a number of high-level mechanisms through which offenders may exploit the consumer IoT including profiling, physical access control and the control of device audio/visual outputs. The types of crimes identified that could be facilitated by the IoT were wide ranging and included burglary, stalking, and sex crimes through to state level crimes including political subjugation. Our review suggests that the IoT presents substantial new opportunities for offending and intervention is needed now to prevent an IoT crime harvest.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In computer science, conference papers undergo a rigorous peer-review process.

  2. 2.

    Due to page constraints, only example citations are included in the text. More details of the full set of papers reviewed can be found in the electronic supplementary material.

  3. 3.

    To be clear, we only used additional references not identified through the systematic search to provide further context about crimes identified through the systematic search.

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Acknowledgements

This work was funded by the UK EPSRC as part of the PETRAS IoT Research Hub—Cybersecurity of the Internet of Things grant no. EP/N02334X/1 and the Dawes Centre for Future Crime at University College London.

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Blythe, J.M., Johnson, S.D. A systematic review of crime facilitated by the consumer Internet of Things. Secur J (2019). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41284-019-00211-8

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Keywords

  • Internet of Things
  • Cybercrime
  • Systematic review
  • Crime harvest