Toronto: Researchers have developed an effective way to trace anonymous emails and quash cyber crimes in the bud.
Tests showed their method is very accurate, unlike many other methods currently in use. It can provide presentable evidence in courts of law, the journal Digital Investigation reports.
"In the past few years, we've seen an alarming increase in the number of cyber crimes involving anonymous emails," says study co-author Benjamin Fung, professor of Information Systems Engineering at Concordia University and an expert in data mining.
Data mining is 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, according to a Concordia University statement.
Fung and his colleagues developed a novel method of authorship attribution to meet this need based on techniques used in speech recognition and data mining.
Their approach relies on the identification of frequent patterns - unique combinations of features that recur in a suspect's emails.
To determine whether a suspect has authored the target email, they first identify the patterns found in emails written by the subject. Then, they filter out any of these patterns, which are also found in the emails of other suspects.
First Published: Wednesday, March 09, 2011, 18:01