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Identifying ‘Anonymous’ Email Authors

A team of researchers from Concordia University has developed an effective new technique to determine the authorship of anonymous emails.

Tests showed their method has a high level of accuracy — and unlike many other methods of ascertaining authorship, it can provide presentable evidence in courts of law. Findings on the new technique are published in the journal Digital Investigation.

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“In the past few years, we’ve seen an alarming increase in the number of cybercrimes involving anonymous emails,” says study co-author Benjamin Fung, a professor of Information Systems Engineering at Concordia University and an expert in data mining — extracting useful, previously unknown knowledge from a large volume of raw data. “These emails can transmit threats or child pornography, facilitate communications between criminals or carry viruses.”

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While police can often use the IP address to locate the house or apartment where an email originated, they may find many people at that address. They need a reliable, effective way to determine which of several suspects has written the emails under investigation. Continue reading…

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