Magnet Forensics-Bringing Digital, Forensic Resources to Law Enforcement

June 11, 2021

The world of digital evidence is vast and can be overwhelming. However, with the right technology, the task of extracting information from electronic devices in an investigation does not have to be too daunting.

Magnet Forensics, a Canadian company, was founded by former police officer, Jad Saliba. Saliba was an active duty police officer when he was diagnosed with cancer and was taken off the streets to work in the digital forensic unit of his agency. With this type of work, he quickly saw a need for a better process for extracting, analyzing and reporting digital information. The need stemmed from the constant (and recent) changes that have come about in the digital world. Since there is so much data that must be extracted from devices in an investigation, digital forensic labs are extremely backlogged.

“Accessing critical digital evidence, especially what was thought to be lost or hidden, was difficult and when investigators could access it, there was too much of it for them to manually gather,” said Saliba, who is also the chief technology officer at Magnet Forensics. “Without those capabilities, the tools that we had to investigate crimes such as child sexual exploitation and human trafficking were insufficient for the job. I knew that I could help make a difference so between shifts, I started developing a solution that would automate the evidence collection process.”

Saliba then acted on the need for a better way to investigate data from social media, chat programs, browser histories and other critical digital evidence in investigations. The software would allow law enforcement and digital investigators to recover critical digital evidence, analyze it with supporting tools powered by AI and visualizations and report on it in a manner that is both technically sound and simple to understand for stakeholders like lawyers, judges and juries. The software allows investigators to conduct their investigations much more efficiently, which may result in faster convictions.

“I made the difficult decision to leave policing and found Magnet Forensics more than a decade ago because I thought I could do more for the pursuit of justice if I devoted myself to developing digital investigation software,” said Saliba. “Since day one at Magnet Forensics, we’ve worked to seek justice and to help protect vulnerable and innocent lives, especially those of children. Each member of our team is just as devoted to that mission as I am.”

One of their products, Magnet AXIOM, finds evidence quickly, searching for both textual data and imagery generated by hundreds of different app types. Furthermore, it can analyze timelines and recover data that may be lost or buried quickly. It also has the capability to “map out” the data found and create visible connections between data and users which in turn may bring more leads to the investigation.

“The volume and complexity of digital evidence has never been more challenging for police agencies to handle,” said Saliba. “Magnet AXIOM uses artificial intelligence and analytics to help investigators quickly recover, analyze and report on the evidence that matters most to their cases from mobile phones, computers, IoT devices and cloud sources.”

Having an efficient, easy to use tool, developed by a law enforcement officer makes a world of difference for investigators in the field. Magnet Forensics has accomplished this allowing law enforcement to conduct investigations in the best way possible.

About the Author

Hilary Rodela

Hilary Rodela is currently a Surveillance Officer, a former Private Investigator, a former Crime Scene Investigator, and Evidence Technician. She worked for the Ruidoso (NM) Police Department as well as the Lubbock (TX) Police Department. She has written for several public safety publications and has extensive law enforcement and forensic training and is pursuing forensic expertise in various disciplines. Hilary is a freelance public safety writer and curriculum developer for the National Investigative Training Academy.

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