Navy service offers app to identify child porn

Navy service offers app to identify child porn

By Shruti Dat'

GCN Staff



The Searchit software helps identify image files stored on hard drives and opens each file to see if it contains a child pornography image.


The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is offering law enforcement officials a beta version of its home-grown application to identify child pornography on computers seized at crime scenes.

"Relatively few departments have either the trained personnel or the sophisticated equipment necessary to maintain a robust capability to deal with computer crimes," the service said in a statement. "There is a need for easy-to-use investigative tools to process the forensics associated with these violations on systems that are not cost prohibitive."

The service's Searchit software, developed by special agent Paul Bright, hunts down image files stored on hard drives and opens each file to see if it contains a child pornography image. The software can handle files in 16 compression formats.

The application then compares images against a database of known child pornography images maintained by the Navy investigative service.

Law enforcement agencies registered to use the software will automatically receive updates of any additions to the database.

The database contains 812 images identified as child pornography; the service has 1,647 images that have not been added to the database yet.

"The program reduced part of the processing time by 60 percent," investigative service officials said. Manual searches of seized hard drives can take weeks. The program can process images in a 4G drive in about five minutes.

"Once an image has been determined, it gives the user a notification that, yes, it is child porn," Bright said. The images are classified as child pornography through the use of the Tanner staging method, which characterizes the sexual maturity of a child.

Search and see

A user at a forensic workstation can search the hard drive and automatically download the images.

The software labels the format of an image and whether it is compressed. Users can choose to view only those images that match ones in the database, or view all the images found on the hard drive to locate images not in the database.

"You can copy those files later into whatever format you need," Bright said. "The tagged images are centralized, and it maintains the file, date and time."

The file search will also identify how a pornographic image was loaded: via e-mail, through a Web download of a Hypertext Mark-up Language document or by some other method.

Once a search is done, the application creates a report viewable through a Microsoft Explorer 4.0 browser. The report outlines any child pornography images found, tags suspect images, identifies files that need further analysis, identifies the compression format and creates a hard drive directory listing.

"It's not a complete tool, but it is part of the arsenal," Bright said.

The investigative service, which works out of of-fices at the Washington Navy Yard, is also working on releasing Digit and Readit'two support programs to use with Searchit.

For more information about the software, send an e-mail message to PBright@NCIS.NAVY.MIL.

inside gcn

  • Phishing

    Phishing is still a big problem, but users can help shrink it

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group