ICIAC 2012 Seminar stream 3B

Abstracts and slides

Now for something a little different! (G)

Exploitation of symbol intelligence

Daniel Olson, Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation – Laboratory Division, USA

Key words: Cryptanalysis, Symbol, Graffiti, Tattoo
Slides: Olson

Gangs, terrorists, violent criminals, and organized criminal enterprises have long used cryptic signs and symbols as a means of internal or external communication, identification, or intimidation.  The Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit (CRRU) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is charged with decrypting encoded and enciphered messages and cryptic symbols such as those found in drawings, graffiti and tattoos.  As part of the FBI’s Laboratory Division in Quantico Virginia, the CRRU codebreakers support criminal prosecutions and provide expert courtroom testimony for law enforcement agencies around the world.  However, the majority of cryptic signs and symbols are submitted to the FBI prior to the discovery of criminal activity (Typically from intercepted jail letters, tattoos, or graffiti seen in plain view).  Therefore the challenging work of codebreakers often results in the discovery of previously unknown criminal groups, activities, or intentions. 

The FBI is currently working to develop new methods and technologies to rapidly identify and exploit intelligence derived from the collection and decryption of coded documents, tattoos and graffiti.  An important part of this effort is the ability to identify the origin and meaning of cryptic symbols.  However, of equal or greater importance is the ability to answer the question “where else in the world has this symbol been observed?”  To achieve this enhanced symbol analysis capability, the FBI has developed a symbol database that leverages the latest developments in image to image (i2i) matching technology.  The intelligence exploitation potential from such a database has the potential to play an instrumental part in identifying local, regional, national or global gang migration and detecting the emergence of organized criminal groups, and predicting the future crime patterns that will likely result.

Forensic tracing of DVD piracy and Organised Crime Groups in the UK 

Max Vetter, Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau, Commercial Crime Services, London

Key words:  DVD piracy, Organised Crime, Analytical charting, Social Network Analysis
Slides: Yet to be supplied by presenter

Organised crime groups (OCGs) have been shown to use a variety of crimes to generate illegal profit including intellectual property theft. The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) is a private sector organisation that investigates intellectual property theft; mainly focusing on the piracy of movies and TV programs. FACT carries out a range of investigations into all forms of movie piracy, with particular focus on the Chinese Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) involved in it.

FACT uses software that can forensically match and trace DVDs to the DVD burners that produced them. Case studies from FACT archives and cursory examination of the forensic data appeared to show that these OCG operate both regionally and nationally, though no comprehensive analysis of the full dataset had been carried out. The data from this forensic software relates to thousands of pirated DVDs from hundreds of seizure locations around the UK. Using analytical charting using i2 analysts notebook, Social Network Analysis (SNA) and geographic representation, this forensic data was analysed to determine if there was any link between the various OCGs selling pirated DVDs in different regions of the UK.

The results showed that Chinese OCGs in London, South-Wales, Manchester and Glasgow appear to be collaborating on the production and distribution of pirated DVDs. Links were also found between the Chinese and British OCGs running pirated DVD stalls at various markets around the South East. Additionally different British OCGs running markets in the South-East, the Midlands and Manchester were further shown to collaborate with each other. Connections were also found between OCGs selling pirate DVDs at Markets in Glasgow and Northern Ireland. The SNA also identified specific choke points and addresses of most influence that would be useful in future for disrupting the illegal trade. 

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