Child sexual exploitation is one of the issues the world has been facing for centuries. It is alarming how common and widespread it has become in the age of Internet and digitalization. Offenders find their victims online, communicate with them via messengers and other social network outlets; often sharing images of child abuse on the web. Statistics from the National Crime Agency (NCA) show that last year 2.88 million accounts were registered globally across the most harmful child abuse dark web sites. The silver lining of more of these activities being conducting online is that it causes online abusers to leave a digital trace.
One of the challenges law enforcement faces today is the amount of child abuse data they need to analyze daily. Since September 2002, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the Child Victim Identification Program (CVIP) have processed more than 240 million child exploitation images and video files seized by law enforcement agencies, of which 37 million were processed in 2017 alone.
At Oxygen Forensics, we are determined to help investigators put an end to child sexual exploitation by providing them with tools that maximize their efficiency and ease their workflow. Let’s see how.
Partnership with Project VIC
Project VIC is a non-profit organization that is focused on developing innovative technologies and victim-centric examination workflows to fight crimes against children. In January 2018, Oxygen Forensics and Project VIС launched a partnership in an effort to fight children exploitation. Forensic investigators have the ability to search for, and identify, known child abuse content in mobile and cloud extractions by hash sets downloaded and configured from the Project VIC library. Investigators can also export hash information and file metadata to a JSON file compatible with Project VIC.
To make use of this functionality, an investigator should have a fully featured license of Oxygen Forensic® Detective and access to the Project VIC library with hash sets. This access can be obtained by law enforcement officers through the Project VIC site. Once Oxygen Forensic® Detective extracts data from a mobile device, cloud account, or other supported digital source, an investigator can go to the Search section, select the Hash sets tab and press the Hash Sets button. Investigators can then upload the Project VIC hash set by pressing the Add hash set button. Select the uploaded hash set(s) and press Search. Any images that are identified by hash will be classified in accordance with the Project VIC Classification Standard. Forensic investigators can also generate a report with the critical evidence to any of the supported formats: PDF, XLS, XML, etc.
The built-in AI categorizes and identifies images faster
If the device might belong to the child offender, use the built-in Image Categorization to identify potentially disturbing media quickly and efficiently. Run Image categorization to recognize photos and videos containing identified information from 14 categories, including pornography and child abuse.
This feature can be utilized both when extracting or importing device data, as well as on already imported backups. In both cases, the investigator can fine-tune the positive “hit” settings by setting identification thresholds in the Options/Advanced analytics menu in Oxygen Forensic® Detective. After running the image categorization, the number of matching images for a required category is automatically tagged and identified in both the Key Evidence and Files sections.
Parsing apps often used by offenders
The latest Oxygen Forensic® Detective extracts and analyzes data from over 17.000 different app versions, including many messaging and social network apps that may be used by the offenders, such as Snapchat, Kik, TikTok, Whisper, Tinder, etc. Moreover, our software decrypts even the most secure messengers that are mentioned in child abuse cases, like Wickr Me.
As soon as the data is extracted from the device or the backup is imported, all the apps from which the data was parsed will be listed on the Oxygen Forensic® Detective main extraction screen. To view all the information stored inside, Select the app of interest.
Additional analytical tools built in
Oxygen Forensic® Detective offers several other analytical tools that allow investigators to take a deeper look into child abuse cases, such as finding social connections or reconstructing event timelines.
The Timeline section summarizes all events in chronological order: calendar events, messages, calls, web cache, web connections, voicemails, photos, videos, history, and more. Investigators now have a number of powerful filters and convenient data presentation modes that allow them to focus on the analysis of only the most pertinent data.
If the communicational patterns need to be analyzed further, go to the Social Graph. There, all chats and contacts from apps and the device itself will be depicted, allowing the investigator to view a visual representation of the connections between the device owner and third parties. Investigators can view chats, information about calls, and contact cards.
If you have any ideas or suggestions for features that could further protect our children and make the world a safer place for them, please do not hesitate to contact us.