Geoff, you're VP of Product Management at Magnet Forensics. Tell us what you've been working on lately – what new releases do you have coming up over the next few weeks?
It’s been a busy past few months for Magnet Forensics! We’ve just released Magnet AXIOM 2.0, which has a lot of great new functionality as well as some improvements to performance. In the lead up to releases, we’re busy making sure the functionality we’re adding meets the needs of our users. We spend a lot of time interacting with our customers and our development team to make sure the new functionality is useful. More than anything, we want our customers’ jobs to be easier whenever possible so they can solve even more cases in less time.Tell us more about the new features you've introduced: how do they differ from what's already on the market?
In this release, we really want to help users work quickly and smoothly. We’ve brought in some great new features to help them do this. Whether it’s our new Case Dashboard which cleanly presents the evidence as soon as you start up AXIOM; an expanded Magnet.AI module that automatically detects images of nudity, weapons, drugs, child exploitation, as well as sexual conversations in chats; or the integration of Volatility for memory analysis.
AXIOM 2.0 also ingests GrayKey images easily and at no additional cost — giving users great analysis of a great acquisition of iOS devices. We’re seeing data in GrayKey iOS images that we haven’t seen in quite some time so that’s been exciting for us.
In your opinion, what are some of the main challenges facing digital forensic investigators today, and how do Magnet's products help to address these?
We are hearing from investigators around the world that one of the biggest challenges that they are facing is the huge volume of digital data that they need to process and review.
It’s Magnet’s heritage to build products that address these issues through an artifact-first forensic approach. We want to build products that let computers do the heavy lifting of recovering the evidence that is most relevant to the investigation. AXIOM is easy to use, so the review of evidence can be spread amongst a wider range of stakeholders. This helps alleviate the burden on the forensic lab of reviewing the data for all cases and puts review tools in the hands of investigators who have a better understanding of case specifics.
Is there a typical user of your software?
Data is coming in more than ever and from all source types, whether that’s smartphones, computers, the Cloud, wearables, or the Internet of Things. AXIOM users are focused on digital forensics so wherever digital devices are used in the service of crime, Magnet Forensics can be a valuable tool.
We got our start in the Law Enforcement sector, so examiners have found AXIOM very valuable along with investigators and prosecutors who get the information shared with them through features like Portable Case. Investigators in the Corporate space also use AXIOM extensively in their workplace investigations.
There's a lot of discussion in the digital forensics community about standardization at the moment. What are your views on the importance of standardization, and how does Magnet validate and verify results?
As forensics matures and grows there is a natural need for standardization. We are certainly seeing a large push towards ISO in the UK. Having consistent and repeatable processes, which standardization helps with, is important. However, that needs to be balanced with the changing environment in which forensic work is done. As an industry we need to have the conversations on both the benefits and challenges/costs to standardization to come up with the best approach.
We know how important it is for our products to produce consistent and accurate results. Our teams have put in place a comprehensive suite of automated testing on our products. We run close to 100 test images through every new software version. The results of these test images are compared to previous runs so that no unexpected changes have occurred. The challenge here when it comes to standardization is that the results are not static. As applications change and we add or update support for apps the results will change. Validating that changes are acceptable is an important step for us and we can understand the importance to the industry.
We also know how important it is for labs to stay on track, organized and account for — that’s why we also offer Magnet ATLAS. It tracks case loads and evidence for labs to not only keep them organized, but helps show clear chains of custody.
Finally, when you're not working, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I have always enjoyed sports and working out. While I don’t have much time free for sports anymore, I’m more of a spectator at my daughters’ sporting events, I still keep active with a variety of workouts.
Magnet Forensics provide a comprehensive, integrated digital investigation platform for forensic investigators worldwide. Find out more on their website.