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14 Mar

Export Champions!

Forensic Pathways CEO Deb Leary OBE (bottom right) as Export Champion
Forensic Pathways CEO Deb Leary OBE (bottom right) with the team of Export Champions

Last week, Birmingham hosted the inaugural Midlands Engine Trade Summit, an exhibition celebrating and encouraging the continued growth of Midland firms exporting internationally.

The Midlands Engine is the long-term economic plan to achieve greater economic growth and productivity across the whole of the Midlands. Over 27,000 businesses across the Midlands Engine exported nearly £40 billion worth of products to over 100 countries in 2015 and the Midlands is responsible for 24% of England’s manufacturing output with particular strengths in automotive, motorsport, aerospace and rail.

Forensic Pathways proudly attended the event as CEO Deb Leary took to the stage as an Expert Champion; a high profile business leader from the Midlands region offering her expertise and advice to inspire companies to export and support existing exporters looking to expand into new markets. Addressing the 500+ delegate conference, Deb delivered an inspirational message highlighting the benefits international trade can bring to a business “Exporting adds real value to the brand, it promotes us as ‘Thought Leaders’“. Exporting internationally has done just that for Forensic Pathways, allowing the company to be positioned as industry leaders in forensic equipment and technology across the world, including South Africa, Germany, France, Italy, the USA & Canada and many more. In addition Forensic Pathways continues to provide Due Diligence and Fraud Investigation services internationally to both the public and private sectors.

Deb also touched on the importance of collaboration in the pursuit of international trade,

stating that “export enables us to create opportunity to work collaboratively with other industry experts”. As a result of international trade, Forensic Pathways have collaborated with ballistics experts Pyramidal, resulting in the collaboration of one of the most advanced, powerful and portable ballistic identification systems on the market, ALIAS. Furthermore, success overseas has generated even greater domestic success, and international trade has helped the company win business here in the UK as exporting globally means “we are seen as a global authority”.

Deb wrapped up the passionate speech summarising the drive, determination and support needed to thrive when trading internationally, referencing our very own Team GB “You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to be a part of team GB, but you do need the same passion and people supporting you. The Department of International Trade and its export champions are here to support you on that journey, as are the UK embassies within the country – you just need to ask. Exporting is great, Britain is great, now let’s do great business. Thank you.”

Deb Leary OBE on the Q&A panel addressing the exhibition

Deb Leary OBE on the Q&A panel addressing the exhibition

Check out Forensic Pathways’ video case study for the Midlands Engine Trade Summit here:
https://vimeopro.com/inspiredfilm/dit-films/video/204877998

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29 Jun

Source Camera Identification Using Forensic Image Analyser

Source Camera Identification Using Forensic Image Analyser (FIA) 

The Problem

Police Forces, intelligence agencies and digital forensic investigators recover huge amounts of images from laptops, mobile phones, storage devices (hard drives, pen drives) and the internet. Often these images need to be analysed to ascertain the source device (camera, cell phone) that was used to photograph the image(s), especially when investigating child sexual abuse (CSE) content.

A suspect might claim he/she didn’t photograph an illegal image(s) and simply downloaded the content by accident. For example in the recent Lee Mathews case http://www.forensic-pathways.com/new-forensic-image-technology-achieves-success-in-major-child-abuse-case/. Or, an investigator in a case may recover 500 illegal images on a hard drive and needs to quickly ascertain which of the images were photographed by the same device. In counter terrorism cases a suspect might be arrested with potential intelligence on their cell phone, for example ‘hate symbols’. These are just some examples where the ability to link images to devices is critical.

Currently Police Forces use ‘meta data’ to identify the make and model of the device that photographed an image(s).  However, meta and exif data can be removed and/or edited by suspects and criminal networks.  Furthermore, the process cannot distinguish between two devices that are the same make/model.

Another technique being used by analysts to classify images is the use of ‘hash sums’. However, if an image ascertain has been edited in any way the hash sum will change. This is not ideal when images are shared in their millions each day and automatically edited by internet sites. Consequently Police Forces need a robust and scientifically proven methodology for linking ‘images to devices’ and ‘images to images’.

The challenge for law enforcement is being able to speed up investigations, improve efficiencies and reduce unnecessary costs. Consequently, Forensic Pathways has developed a software http://www.forensic-pathways.com/forensic-image-analyser/ tool that can automatically identify the source device (camera, mobile phone) that photographed a particular image(s).

The Solution

Forensic Pathways Limited (FPL) has developed a peer reviewed, scientifically proven methodology for identifying the source device that photographed a particular images(s). The algorithm has been used successfully in a number of UK child sexual exploitation cases.  See www.forensic-pathways.com for more information. 

Forensic Image Analyser (FIA) extracts a latent feature, known as, Sensor Pattern Noise (SPN) from digital images. SPN occurs due to the natural imperfections in the silicon chip and varying pixel sensitivity to light in the sensor of the camera. The uniqueness of these defects makes SPN a natural digital ‘fingerprint’. Importantly, SPN can be used to differentiate between imaging devices of the same model. For example, the software can distinguish between the camera fingerprints of two iPhone 6 devices.  It is important to note that these SPN fingerprints contain no content. Thus the fingerprints can be shared without compromising security.

‘Standard SPN’ fingerprints are contaminated by scene details in the image, which leads to misidentifications. This is not at all helpful in forensic terms. Therefore, the use of standard SPN in forensics will not produce the required results. FPL has developed a unique ‘SPN enhancer’ (patents GB2467767, GB2486987, EU 2396749, USA8565529) that removes contamination from the standard SPN fingerprints and allows for higher identification rates.

There are two scenarios where FIA can be applied, namely image identification and image classification.  These are described below.

Identifier: 

An example where the FIA Identifier can be used is when an investigator has recovered a memory stick with a number of illegal images and a smart phone from a suspect. The suspect denies that the illegal photos were taken using the phone. The investigator can use the Identifier to create a fingerprint for the camera and extract the digital fingerprint for each image. The Identifier will then match all the fingerprints obtained from the images against the camera fingerprint.

The FIA Identifier allows users to link digital media to imaging devices.

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Classifier: 

A second scenario occurs when an investigator has recovered a laptop, memory stick and external hard drive, all containing digital photos. Some of these photos contain illegal content while others are innocent photos that were taken by the suspect’s camera. The FIA Classifier can be used to group all the images recovered according to the imaging device that created them. If both the illegal and innocent images are placed in the same group, it will show that they were taken from the same camera.Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 11.43.53

The FIA Classifier allows users to group together images that were created by the same imaging device.

For more information or to arrange a FREE TRIAL please contact ben.leary@forensic-pathways.com

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15 Feb

Lights, Camera, Evidence!

Since Alphonse Bertillon’s early 20th century photographs of homicide victims in France, the role of photographs in crime has grown exponentially, and the benefits of images in investigations can be monumental.

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Alphonse Bertillon used his metric photography system to photograph the murdered corpse of Madame Langlois on April 5, 1905

Images can play an integral role in criminal investigations, and given what a photograph may contain, it is imperative to explore imagery in order to reveal any evidence that may be crucial in solving a case. The use of Forensic Image Analyser (FIA) can greatly enhance the ability to exploit digital images and help grasp the uncovered information it may hold, for example by linking an image with its source device, thus transforming a photo into empirical evidence.

This ground-breaking technology has already had a big influence on the way in which evidence is approached, with Forensic Pathways collaborating with the Paedophile & On-Line Investigation Team (POLIT) of Sussex Police.

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In June 2014, Forensic Pathways was approached by Sussex Police for help in investigating the activities of Lee Mathews. The Company’s technology ‘Forensic Image Analyser’ was used to identify that the digital images on Matthews Apple iPhone had been taken by that device, as opposed to being sent to it or copied. Matthews had until that point denied that the video on one of his phones showing sexual activity with a child had been created on that phone. Through the use of Forensic Image Analyser (FIA), Forensic Pathways was able to show that the videos had indeed been created by Matthews’ iPhone, resulting in the successful conviction of the accused.

The ability to link digital imagery with its source device can act as a massive deterrent to offenders and help combat child sexual exploitation, enhancing the welfare of vulnerable children.

Read more on FIA here: http://tinyurl.com/oadvy8z
Read more on the use of photographs in crime…http://tinyurl.com/jm7525p

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09 Feb

Preservation is Paramount

“The important thing to remember is that forensic science begins at the crime scene, and it’s all going to be lost if that area of the crime cannot be properly preserved.” – Richard Saferstein (Former Chief Forensic Scientist)

The basic principle in CSI is that “every contact leaves a trace” – as such, here at Forensic Pathways, we understand that preserving the integrity of a crime scene is absolutely imperative when conducting CSI.  The Forensic Science Regulator has specified the importance of scene preservation, citing the use of crime scene stepping plates in order to reduce the risk of contamination at the scene whilst maintaining accessibility. Here at Forensic Pathways we combine industry practice with innovation; the result? The WORLD’s FIRST transparent crime scene stepping plate, designed and created by CEO Deb Leary, OBE.

Allowing CSI personnel the means to navigate a scene without jeopardizing the evidence, our transparent crime scene stepping plates fit the bill perfectly, allowing scene accessibility whilst maintaining complete visual awareness.

You can find out more about our industry-defining stepping plates here: http://www.forensic-pathways.com/clear-anti-contamination-stepping-plates/

MSPK-200x300

Our multi stepping plate kit (MSPK), complete with both Standard Stepping Plates and Stair Stepping Plates

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21 Jan

Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse National Conference 2016

tackling CSE

Forensic Pathways are pleased to confirm our attendance in exhibiting at the annual Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse National Conference 2016 hosted by Lancashire Constabulary & Leicestershire Police. – http://tinyurl.com/hvphoob 

The February event will explore a number of topics relevant to CSE, including how to tackle online grooming and abuse and understand more surrounding the acts of CSE.

Efforts to combat CSE are imperative, and through implementing innovative technologies such as Forensic Image Analyser, we can take one step closer to preventing the occurrence of such acts and protect the welfare of children.

 

Read more on FIA here… http://www.forensic-pathways.com/forensic-image-analyser/

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15 Oct

Stepping Plate inventor wins Inspiring Leader & S.T.E.M. Award!

Deborah Leary (OBE), Forensic Pathways CEO won the Inspiring Leader 2015 award at the Forward Ladies Midlands Women in Business Awards (WIBA) regional final.

Deb was also awarded with the Science, Engineering, Technology & Manufacturing (STEM) Award on the evening in Nottingham which was hosted by Charlene White (ITV Presenter). Amazingly Debs daughter Lizze managed to scoop Young Entrepreneur at the awards show.  Lizze is the owner of Kindred Sole, a Birmingham based designer show company. Deb will now compete in the National Finals taking place in Leeds on the 20th November.  Deb said: “I am absolutely delighted to win both of these awards. There are so many inspirational women in the UK, to be chosen in the regional finals is really quite humbling….Also to receive the award for STEM is absolutely fantastic and highlights the fantastic achievements of the whole team at Forensic Pathways.”

Deb invented the transparent Anti-contamination Stepping Plates.  Importantly, it is now standard protocol to use Stepping Plates at all major scenes in order to create a pathway through a scene thereby ensuring a methodical, clinical approach to the preservation and gathering of trace evidence  Their award-winning transparent anti-contamination Stepping Plates are available in two sizes and in a range of kit combinations dependent upon client needs.  Forensic Pathways also develops forensic software for law enforcement and offers due diligence services for businesses.

*UPDATE* After winning the Inspiring Leader 2015 award at the Regional Finals, Deb Leary OBE went on to win the award at the 2015 WIBA National Finals! A big congratulations to our CEO!

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24 Sep

Forensic Pathways are delighted to announce its official support of the Dot.Com Children’s Foundation

Forensic Pathways are delighted to announce its official support of the Dot.Com Children’s Foundation, announced at the recent Association of Superintendents’ Conference. Forensic Pathways has made a commitment to supporting the charity, promoting the fantastic work the charity does in empowering children to practice positive values and make safer choices in life.

The Value Versus Violence Education Programme has been developed to provide children with an awareness of risk and risk management and is supported by the Home Office. The programme is intended to be a continuing journey throughout childhood, beginning from when the children are 5 years old, and continuing into their teenage years. The lessons cover the most difficult and sensitive issues that face children and give pupils the skills to know how to ask for help.

The primary school children are given age compatible journals to work through in class, usually with their teacher but sometimes with input from partnership agencies. Each journal is accompanied by a guide for the teacher or lesson provider. The secondary school education package is accessible on line and entirely free of charge at www.vvvuk.com..

The Dot Com programme of work covers all aspects of PHSE and with great depth, looks at aspects of PREVENT, radicalisation, child exploitation, e-safety and rights and responsibilities.

As part of Forensic Pathways support the Company is delighted to sponsor the forthcoming Inspiring Children’s Award 2016.  The event is being held at Aston Villa Football Club on the 3rd June 2016 with nominations opening on the 1st November 2015.  So if you know of a child that inspires you, please go to http://dotcomcf.org/news/inspiring-childrens-awards-2016

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07 Sep

Winners of Digital Forensics of the year Award 2015

fpawardForensic Pathways is delighted to announce that it has been awarded the Digital Forensic Award 2015 by Forensic Insider and Security Insider Magazine. This is the second time the Company has won the Award. The first time being 2013.

Its path-breaking endeavours have led to the company winning a variety of awards both for itself as a whole and also for its innovative technologies, culminating in the Digital Forensics Award 2015 awarded by Forensics Insider and Security Insider magazines.

According to publications’ judging panel, the cutting edge technologies being offered by Forensic Pathways was particularly impressive. The panel said that the company not only catered for the criminal side of things but also the business intelligence side. It further said that the judges unanimously agreed that the range of technologies offered by Forensic Pathways was the best in the sector.

Low-ResForensic Pathways 3Speaking on the win, Ben Leary says: “We are absolutely delighted. Winning the award is testament to the progress Forensics Pathways is making in the world of digital forensics. It shows that we are driving forward in the right direction and, more importantly, that we are providing a solution to a number of problems previously uncatered for.

“Winning the award is also an affirmation from the industry that what we have created has a real value. It affirms we have a created a strong base on which to move forward.”

He believes that the versatility of its product portfolio and the uniqueness of its cutting-edge technology would have definitely contributed towards the win.

“The fact that a large number of law enforcement agencies are incorporating our technology into their policies on a global level is a great indication that what we are doing is helping redefine how crime is combated, and helping implement new methods that can help law enforcement deal with a variety of threats including cyber.” 

Forensic Pathways has also seen much success in the provision of Due Diligence and Fraud Investigation Services to the public and private sector. Working with large international corporate clients has been one of Forensic Pathways many successes.

Ben Leary says “We carry out due diligence to mitigate the risk of partnering with an individual or business whose existing or previous activities or relationships may cause legal, regulatory, reputational or financial damage. Our Fraud Investigation service enables fast collection and analysis of evidence to ensure that crucial decisions can be made to stop further losses and reverse engineer the process to make sure lessons are learnt and new procedures put in place to avoid repeat occurrences. Our technical ability in terms of developing algorithms to ask the right questions of data, coupled with a sound ability in digital forensic data recovery, linked with sound investigation skills ensures the Company is able to offer a complete package. Understanding how to get to the data, how to analyse the data and make sense of that data is a core strength of within team.”

“I also believe that we reflect an ethos of doing ‘good business’. We want all our stakeholders to feel valued and feel that they are getting value. Trust, integrity and a commitment to helping shape the future of forensics globally for the protection of others is hopefully what has come through. It is certainly what we aim for.”

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07 Sep
11 Mar

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