A Systematic Literature Review of Routine Activity Theory’s Applicability in Cybercrimes

Abstract: Cybercrimes are increasing at an alarming rate and cause detrimental effects to the victims. Routine Activity Theory (RAT) is commonly used to understand the factors influencing cybercrime victimization. However, there have been inconsistent findings on the applicability of RAT theory. This study performs a Systematic Literature Review analysis to consolidate and provide a coherent analysis of the related studies employing RAT theory for cybercrime victimization. The articles were also differentiated based on the cybercrimes topologies being investigated; (a) cybercrime dependent (hacking and malware) and (b) cybercrime enabled (phishing, fraud and identity theft). The findings suggest that a refined specification and operationalization of RAT’S construct tailoring to the types of cybercrimes can arguably yield more accurate application and interpretation of RAT Theory in cybercrimes. Consequently, this will address the inaccurate measurement issues of some of the RATS’s constructs, leading to inconclusive effects on cybercrime victimization. In addition, there is a need for more longitudinal studies to disentangle the effect of RAT’s construct during pre and post cybercrimes. Security advocates can apply the findings of this research to formulate relevant cybercrime awareness programs. The findings also shed some insights into which groups should be targeted for different cybercrime educational and awareness programs. This study can increase the awareness among citizens in terms of their online activities, their attributes and the types of protection from becoming cybercrime victims.


Rahayu Ahmad Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia

Ramayah Thurasamy Universiti Sains Malaysia, Daffodil International University, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Sunway University Business School (SUBS), Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM)

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One thought on “A Systematic Literature Review of Routine Activity Theory’s Applicability in Cybercrimes

  • November 17, 2023 at 3:45 am

    In light of the reviewed literature, what implications or practical applications can be drawn for law enforcement, policymakers, or cybersecurity practitioners aiming to address and mitigate cybercrimes?


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