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.

“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.”

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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