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The Australian National University

ANU Cybercrime Observatory

ANU Cybercrime Observatory

The ANU Cybercrime Observatory's mission is to monitor, identify and analyse trends from electronic data collected from the Internet and acquired through government and industry partners.

Examples of what we do include 'big data' analysis of botnet traffic and spam, investigations of underground online hacking discussion forums, unraveling how infectious software and tools are used, and the evolution of social engineering. The goal is to identify patterns of crime to understand the crime causation and the social dynamics of Internet based crime.

Our approach is unique. We are the only established group in Australia undergoing cross-disciplinary cybercrime research. We draw from areas such as criminology, law, regulatory theory, data mining, information security, and computer science. Findings and results are underpinned by direct and indirect observation and experience. Most of our investigations are framed within the discipline of criminology and crime prevention. In line with the strategic research priorities of Australia, the research endeavours to assist in improving cybersecurity for Australians including individuals, businesses and government.

Current Research Projects

  • Cyber-terrorism*
  • Phishing observations*
  • Evolution of Spam and Malware (2012-2016)*
  • New trends in Child Exploitation: threats in CEM: Sex Robotics and VR
  • 3D Printed firearms

* grant funded

The ANU Cybercrime Observatory operates as an independent non-profit leveraging data sharing partnerships with government, business and other cybercrime research groups. We undertake training, commissioned research and make available our laboratory and other services on cost recovery fees basis and welcome collaborarative opportunities.

We welcome expressions of interest from researchers, visitors and students for short-term visits or to commence studies. If you have a background in criminology, sociology, policing, law, applied statistics, computer science, data mining or online research methods, please contact us at:


The Observatory was developed with the assistance of an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project grant and a Criminology Research Council (CRC) grant, and the Cybercrime Lab was established in 2010. In 2012, the ANU Cybercrime Observatory was created by Professor Roderic Broadhurst[3], Professor Peter Grabosky,  Dr Ray Choo, Dr Mamoun Alazab and Dr Steve Chon to help researchers, students and industry connect on cybercrime and security issues.

The observatory currently receives research funding from the Australian Criminology Research Council (for work on spam and spear phishing). Prof Broadhurst has a research fellowship with the Korean Institute of Criminology which supports the work of the Observatory through the UNODC/VFAC or virtual forum against cybercrime network. ANU IT security supports the Observatory and ACMA & CERTAus provide data as required.


An introductory undergraduate course CRIM2010: Cybercrime: an introduction that offers the following Illustrative topics include: see (

  • ‘Hacktivism’, and ideological groups, content crime like child exploitation materials
  • Cyberwar, and terrorism
  • Dark-net markets and the hidden wiki: (e.g. illicit drug markets, child exploitation materials, and crypto-currencies etc.).
  • Predicate offences and malware tools (e.g. ID theft, spam, viruses, bots, RAT, rootkits, phishing, DDoS, crime-ware services etc.).
  • Encryption, privacy and anonymity.
  • Tracing and investigating cybercrime and cyber-security intrusions.

Recent Publications

Broadhurst, R. and Alazab, M., 2017, ‘Spam and Crime’, in Peter Drahos, Ed. Regulatory Theory: Foundations and Applications, ANU Press, pp 517-532.

Broadhurst, R., Skinner, K., Sifniotis, N., Orlando, S., Maxim, D. and Ougrinovski, G., 2016, Phishing and Spam: A Pilot Experiment.

Alazab, M. and Broadhurst, R., 2016, Spam and Criminal Activity, Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, No 526, December,2016, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra; ISSN 1836-2206; pp1-20.

Maxim, D., Orlando, S., Skinner, K. and Broadhurst, R., Online Child Exploitation Material – Trends and Emerging Issues: Research Report of the Australian National University Cybercrime Observatory with the input of the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner (November 4, 2016). Canberra, 2016.

Broadhurst, R., Grabosky, P., Alazab, M., and Chon, S., 2014, Organizations and Cybercrime: An Analysis of the Nature of Groups engaged in Cyber Crime, International Journal of Cyber Criminology, Vol. 8 [1]: 1-20.

Alazab, Mamoun, Shamsul Huda, Jemal Abawajy, Rafiqul Islam, John Yearwood, Sitalakshmi Venkatraman, Roderic Broadhurst, 2014, ‘Hybrid Wrapper-Filter Approach for Malware Detection’, Journal of Networks, Vol. 9 (11), 2878-2891.


The Team


Professor Roderic Broadhurst

Laboratory Coordinator

Mr Nick Sifniotis

Research Assistants

Mr Don Maxim

Ms Katie Skinner

Ms Hannah Woodford-Smith

Ms Bianca Sabol


Ms Ho Chung

Mr Michael Wu

Ms Lucy De Masson

Research Affiliates

Dr Mamoun Alazab

Ms Brigitte Bouhours

Dr Steve Chon

Dr Nguyen Tran

Dr Lennon Chang

Professor Peter Grabosky




Online Child Exploitation Material Research Project

ANU Cybercrime Observatory research assistants (Don Maxim, Katie Skinner and Stephanie Orlando), under the supervision of Professor Broadhurst, are currently working on a desk review for the Office of the Children's eSafety...

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Criminology undergraduates studying peers’ wifi and cybercrime risks

  Criminology students at The Australian National University are studying their peers’ Wi-Fi internet usage this semester to determine their awareness of online risks. It’s part of an internship in the ANU Cybercrime Observatory...

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3D Printing: Is the law keeping up with technology?

3D Printing: Is the law keeping up with technology? Today on the  ABC Radio program Life Matters, Prof. Broadhurst spoke about 3D Printing and the problems that law has in keeping pace with the evolution of such technology. Of particular...

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Updated: 2 September 2015/ Responsible Officer:  Head of School / Page Contact:  Web Publisher