Computer Laboratory

Alice Hutchings

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My most recent publications include:

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I am a University Lecturer in the Security Group at the Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of King's College. I am also Deputy-Director of the Cambridge Cybercrime Centre, an interdisciplinary initiative combining expertise from computer science, criminology, and law. We take a data-driven approach to improve our understanding of criminal activity and develop robust identifiers and evidence of criminal behaviour. An important goal of the project is to provide data to other academics and therefore improve the quantity and quality of cybercrime research.

Prior to taking up a lectureship I was a researcher at the Computer Laboratory from January 2014 to October 2018, and a College Research Associate at St John's College, Cambridge, from 2017 to 2018. Before moving to Cambridge I was a Senior Research Analyst at the Australian Institute of Criminology from 2011 to 2013.

Before entering academia I had a varied research career in local government, parliament, law, and private investigation (intellectual property). I first began researching cybercrime in the late 1990s, while working in industry (mainly relating to domain name misuse and software counterfeiting).

The thesis of my PhD, conferred in 2013, examined why computer crime offenders, namely those engaged in unauthorised access and computer fraud, begin offending, why they continue, and why they stop. My research used a framework of multiple theories of crime, which were integrated to create one theoretical model based on data from current and former offenders.

Diversity is important to me. I helped set up the department's LGBTQ+@CL network. I also made a list to highlight some academic researchers who do excellent cybercrime research but who I think are under-appreciated. This is not a list of women, it's a list that only has women on it. Just like some citation lists, editor lists, program committee membership lists, and conference agendas are not lists of (but only include) men.

Research interests

I have recently been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant for the Interdisciplinary Cybercrime Project (iCrime). This programme of research will commence in 2021. Other current and previous grants include:

  • COVID-19 Tracking Covid Cybercrime and Abuse (Co-I), funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), 2020-22.
  • CybercrimeNLP (CC-NLP): A natural language processing toolkit for the interdisciplinary analysis of underground online forums (PI), funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), 2020-21.
  • Data science approaches to understanding key actors on online hacking forums (Co-I), funded by the Alan Turing Institute, 2017-18.
  • Cambridge Cybercrime Centre (Co-I), funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), 2015-20.

I am an interdisciplinary researcher. Specialising in cybercrime, I bridge the gap between criminology and computer science. Generally, my research interests include understanding cybercrime offenders, cybercrime events, and the prevention and disruption of online crime. Specific topics I am particularly interested in include:

I established and maintain the Cambridge Computer Crime Database (CCCD), a database of computer crime events where the offender has been arrested, charged and/or prosecuted in the United Kingdom. Please get in touch with me if you have data for inclusion in the CCCD, or if you are an academic considering setting up a similar database in another country. Cybercrime is an international issue, and this should be reflected in the data. I'm happy to assist setting up the relevant data collection mechanisms, and to ensure similar variables are being captured for comparative purposes.

Research students

I am currently supervising the following PhD candidates:

I have supervised the following MPhil research projects:

  • Jack Hughes: 'An analysis of cybercrime activity within an underground gaming forum' (2018-19).
  • J Gilberto Atondo Siu: 'Automated NLP approaches for currency exchange analysis in underground forums' (2019-20).
  • Nnaemeka Obodoekwe: 'Automatically analyzing negative interactions and relationships between members of an underground forum' (2019-20).

If you are interested in applying to Cambridge for a research-oriented MPhil or PhD in cybercrime or a related area please get in touch regarding your research topic of interest. More information on the two programmes, including application requirements and information on initial research proposals, can be found on the MPhil in Advanced Computer Science and PhD in Computer Science pages at the Computer Laboratory.

I will be unavailable for supervising undergraduate or masters project during the 2020-21 academic year.

Teaching

I am currently teaching:

Program Committees and reviewing

I am involved in organising the following conferences and workshops:

I have been a Program Committee member for the following conferences and workshops:

  • Enigma 2021
  • 13th Workshop on Cybersecurity Experimentation and Test (CSET 2020)
  • International Conference on Financial Cryptography and Data Security (FC) 2020-2021
  • 19th Workshop on the Economics of Information Security (WEIS 2020)
  • APWG Symposium on Electronic Crime Research (eCrime) 2015-2019

I am area editor (cybercrime) for the Journal of Cybersecurity. I have also reviewed submissions for the following academic journals:

  • American Behavioral Scientist
  • Communications of the ACM
  • Computers & Society
  • Crime Science
  • Crime, Law and Social Change
  • Criminology
  • Global Crime
  • International Journal of Cyber Criminology
  • Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
  • Journal of Experimental Criminology
  • Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice and Criminology
  • Social Science Computer Review
  • Sociological Forum

Committees

My committee roles include:

  • Chair of the Department's Ethics Committee (from 2019)
  • Member of the Department's Workload Committee (from 2019)
  • Member of the Steering Committee for the Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement (from 2017)
  • Member of the University's Working Group on Handling Security-Sensitive Research Material (from 2016)

In 2015, I was elected to serve on the University Council, the principal executive and policy making body of the University of Cambridge. In this capacity I served on a number of other committees and working groups, including the Governance Review Working Group, the University Council's Business Committee, the Risk Steering Committee, and the Sports Committee. I was also co-opted as a member of the Council of the School of Technology. In October 2018, I resigned from the University Council.

While a member of the University's research staff (2014-2018), I was an elected committee member of the Postdocs of Cambridge (PdOC) Society and a member of the Computer Laboratory's Research Staff Forum.


Email
alice.hutchings [at] cl.cam.ac.uk

Phone
+44 (0) 1223 763660

Office
GE22

Mail
Dr Alice Hutchings
Computer Laboratory
15 JJ Thomson Avenue
Cambridge CB3 0FD
United Kingdom