New Software Tool Enhances Evidence Gathering Capabilities of Computer Forensic Investigators and Cyber-Crime Fighters

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The first digital forensic software tool capable of automatically reassembling fragments of graphic images, even when information regarding the locations of the fragments no longer exists, has been developed. The tool will greatly enhance the amount of evidence that can be gathered during digital forensic investigations such as those involving child pornography and counterfeiting.

This has been by far the most difficult project we've worked on to date, but everyone involved has been consistently impressed with the results. We're hopeful the law enforcement community will be able to embrace this tool and benefit from it.

Xolide Media and CyberSecurity Institute have developed the first digital forensic software tool capable of automatically reassembling fragments of graphic images, even if information regarding the locations of the fragments no longer exists. The two companies have been collaborating on the project, called FERS (Fragmented Evidence Recovery Suite) now for over a year.

File fragmentation occurs when parts of a file are stored in non-contiguous areas of a hard drive or other form of media. Attempts to recover and reassemble these fragments using current methods can take hundreds of hours when dealing with an average size hard drive. Because of this, important evidence is often not recovered during an investigation.

“The FERS will greatly enhance the amount of evidence that can be gathered during digital forensic investigations such as those involving child pornography and counterfeiting, “ said Steve Hailey, President and CEO of CyberSecurity Institute. “I’ve never seen capability like this in any forensic tool. What used to be an insurmountable task can now be completed within minutes,” said Hailey.

David and Michael Martinek of Xolide Media started working on the tool with Steve Hailey after attending a digital forensics class that Hailey teaches. “We saw how difficult and time consuming it was to reassemble fragmented files using current tools,” said David Martinek. “With our knowledge of graphic file formats, we knew we could come up with a solution,” Martinek said. Michael Martinek, the lead developer of the program commented: “This has been by far the most difficult project we've worked on to date, but everyone involved has been consistently impressed with the results. We're hopeful the law enforcement community will be able to embrace this tool and benefit from it.”

FERS has the capability to identify when known contraband such as child pornography has been stored on hard drives and other media by finding a single fragment of the file - all of the fragments related to a file do not need to be found. The tool also has the capability to display partial graphic images when some of the fragments are missing.

CyberSecurity Institute and Xolide Media will be presenting the FERS to a group of local and federal law enforcement officials this month that will be testing the tool and providing feedback. A finalized version is expected in approximately six months. The two companies are also looking for funding sources for continued development and to provide training and certification on the tool to those in the law enforcement community.

About Xolide Media:

Xolide Media provides programming services and custom software solutions to companies throughout the Pacific Northwest.

About CyberSecurity Institute:

CyberSecurity Institute is a leader in computer forensic services and training and provides computer forensic services to businesses, government, and attorneys. Forensic analysis services are provided to law enforcement agencies at reduced cost, with cases involving the exploitation of children being worked pro-bono.

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