Beyond Keywords

Is keyword search becoming obsolete in the new age of forensic digital investigation?

As the bulk of investigative activity moved from paper to digital documents, keyword searching became the primary tool for identifying relevant evidence in a data set. However, keywords can be imprecise. A search may miss important items or return too many irrelevant results. As data volumes grow, investigators must trawl through ever-increasing numbers of search results to find the information they seek.

Traditional digital investigation tools present these results in lists and tables. It quickly becomes too much for the human mind to take in. Data visualization provides a much easier way for the brain to understand large quantities of data.

This paper will discuss how investigators can use visualization to rapidly focus on the items of interest within very large data sets. We will demonstrate how the Context interface available with Nuix Incident Response and Nuix Investigator visualizes communication networks, timelines, maps, and links between items.

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James Billingsley

Principal Solutions Consultant, Cybersecurity & Investigations

James has a decade of experience in computer forensics. Before joining Nuix, he worked as a Senior Breach Investigation Consultant leading PCI forensic investigations for clients including Visa and MasterCard.

As a Certified Examiner, James has supported UK Police Force and government agency investigations and served as an expert witness in UK courts. James has contributed to web browser forensics software tools which law enforcement agencies and international corporations around the world use.

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