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Searching the internet for images by metadata

Computer forensics discussion. Please ensure that your post is not better suited to one of the forums below (if it is, please post it there instead!)
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gmarshall139
Senior Member
 

Searching the internet for images by metadata

Post Posted: Aug 31, 09 21:08

The goal is to find images posted to the internet from a specific camera. So if the camera's serial number (or some other unique identifier) is contained within an image's metadata, could it be searched for to locate other pictures created by the same device?

How about creating a web crawler to do the same?
_________________
Greg Marshall, EnCE 
 
  

keydet89
Senior Member
 

Re: Searching the internet for images by metadata

Post Posted: Aug 31, 09 23:55

If you can extract EXIF data from a JPG on an analysis system, I don't see why you couldn't do the same thing via this sort of functionality.

Good luck.  
 
  

watcher
Senior Member
 

Re: Searching the internet for images by metadata

Post Posted: Sep 01, 09 00:26

- gmarshall139
The goal is to find images posted to the internet from a specific camera. ...


A crawler that extracts and compares EXIF data is certainly technically possible, in fact it wouldn't be that hard. That said, there are some practicalities to consider.

Size and time alone would necessitate some kind of focus narrowing criteria. I suspect that new pictures are added to the web faster than you could crawl them.

Additionally, most images on the web outside of photo sites tend to be small low resolution images. Generally, external editing/resizing software does not keep the EXIF data in the new smaller images. Unless the image was taken directly by the camera in question and posted unedited, there is a good chance the EXIF data is gone.  
 
  

wmpwi
Newbie
 

Re: Searching the internet for images by metadata

Post Posted: Sep 01, 09 04:02

- gmarshall139
The goal is to find images posted to the internet from a specific camera. So if the camera's serial number (or some other unique identifier) is contained within an image's metadata, could it be searched for to locate other pictures created by the same device?

How about creating a web crawler to do the same?


You just happened to hit real close to a hot button of mine right now. I've been doing a lot of research on how I might be able to use exif data in our investigations and we've already had enough luck to keep me encouraged. The crawl is an interesting idea, but I see some wisdom in what Watcher said.

If one can design the crawler, then it shouldn't be a big leap to focus the crawl to selected web sites. Any one prolific enough to catch a manufacturing case and careless enough to leave in the metadata may also frequent Picasa, Flikr, or the like. I've pulled exif data from those. Now just figure how to crawl or scrape their data and I'll sign on. I'll be watching for updates.  
 
  

gmarshall139
Senior Member
 

Re: Searching the internet for images by metadata

Post Posted: Sep 01, 09 17:56

- watcher

Additionally, most images on the web outside of photo sites tend to be small low resolution images. Generally, external editing/resizing software does not keep the EXIF data in the new smaller images. Unless the image was taken directly by the camera in question and posted unedited, there is a good chance the EXIF data is gone.


I agree that these two points are the major limitations. Any good resources for programming web crawlers?
_________________
Greg Marshall, EnCE 
 
  

gmarshall139
Senior Member
 

Re: Searching the internet for images by metadata

Post Posted: Sep 01, 09 18:11

I found something of a modular crawler here to play around with:

www.cs.cmu.edu/~rcm/websphinx/
_________________
Greg Marshall, EnCE 
 
  

kovar
Senior Member
 

Re: Searching the internet for images by metadata

Post Posted: Sep 02, 09 02:10

Greetings,

Be aware that if you crawl large volumes of data from a professionally run site, they may shut you down. This often happens when imaging web sites without a throttle set on your application. The site will detect excessive bandwidth demands from your IP and either shut you off completely or throttle you way back. wget and other similar tools have settings to limit the bandwidth demands.

Crawling a photo site would likely trigger similar responses.

-David
_________________
CISSP, CCE, EnCE, Licensed Private Investigator (CA) 
 

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