Link Analysis & Timeline Analysis in Digital Forensics Investigation

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Published By Jaspreet Singh
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On November 3rd, 2022
Reading Time 6 Minutes Reading

In this article, we are going to discuss the topics Link Analysis in Digital Forensics and Timeline Analysis in Digital Forensics. These are two important features that help in criminal investigation to find the existing relationship and communication between the users within a period of time.

What are Link Analysis and its Feature?

Link analysis is a data analysis technique used to examine the connection between any type of objects such as nodes, people, transactions, organizations, etc. The links between the objects may be physical, digital, or relational. It helps the investigators to visualize the data for better analysis of the context of links between people, or different entities.

Link analysis is often used in search engine optimization, security analysis, market, and medical research. In criminal investigations, investigators use link analysis software to perform the analysis process for digital forensic purposes.

Link Analysis in Digital Forensics

In digital forensics, link analysis means determining the relation or connection between the network nodes or users. It is mainly used in the investigation to track criminal activities. Link analysis helps the examiners to create the visual representation of communication between the people involved in that crime. The complexity of the link analysis depends on the number of links existing in the communication. Link analysis in criminal investigation helps the examiner to conclude quickly.

In the context of crime analysis, the link analysis in digital forensics process helps to analyze the huge set of email data. With the help of link analysis, the investigators try to find out the relationship between different senders and receivers in the particular scenario.

Link analysis and timeline analysis in digital forensics are performed by the examiners to find the relationship between the node, people, transaction, and organizations within a time period. Try the MailXaminer Digital Forensic Software which provides both these features on the same platform. With this automated solution, forensic investigator/examiner can investigate email frauds along with other email-related crimes. To use this feature, follow the section given below.

Using The Link Analysis Feature

In this section, we will see how to find out the relationship between users via the link analysis with the help of an Email Forensics Software, advanced software with specialized features.

Step 1: Search Option
Open the Search tab in the software and enter a specific keyword to find out all the emails related to that particular keyword.

Step 2: Open Analysis Tab
Open the Analysis tab and select the entities from the given list to perform link analysis in a criminal investigation. The tool lists Persons, IP Address and Domain to perform link analysis.

Step 3: Select Email Address
Tick mark on the box of required Email addresses, IP addresses and Domains obtained from the keyword search and then click on the Generate button to find the existing relationship between selected email addresses.

Step 4: View Relationship between Users
The forensics tool displays the relationship between the selected mail addresses through graphical representation. The software also provides the option to perform link analysis through Emails, Calendars, Calls, Chats and SMS. Users can click on Emails, Calendars, Calls, Chats and SMS options to find out details through which the suspects are related.

Step 5: View Number of Exchanged Emails
This link analysis software feature also provides the option to view the number of emails exchanged between two entities. To do this, just click on the link between the respective entities.

 

Use of Timeline Analysis in Digital Investigation

The word timeline indicates displaying a list of events in a particular order. Timeline analysis is mainly used for various purposes in the investigation which mainly involves collecting information within a particular time frame. It is a great technique to determine the activity occurred on a system at a certain time. It helps to make inferences very fast in an easy manner.

Normal timeline analysis for computer forensic investigation can be performed on different types of contexts like text timeline, number timeline, graphical timeline, etc. Each timeline model provides different views of the data accordingly. Through the timeline analysis, an analyst can easily find out when a particular event or transaction happened. It also helps to figure out the other events which took place during the same time interval along with their interconnection to one another.

Timeline Analysis in Digital Forensics Investigation

Timeline analysis in computer forensics is mainly used for investigation purposes to answer the questions related to date and time. This process proves to be very helpful in the case of having a lot of information related to the particular event. Timeline analysis representation in the graphical form is very useful in digital forensic to determine when the event or transaction occurs.

Timeline analysis in digital forensics gives clear information through the specific year, month, and date views. The main purpose of using timeline analysis for investigation is to obtain the graphical view of the transaction. Hence, it makes it easy for the examiners to evaluate and make decisions based on timeline analysis.

Using Timeline Analysis Feature

Using timeline analysis software feature, forensic investigator or examiner can view email conversation details between Sender & Receiver according to specific Year, Month, and Date.

Step 1: Open Case Dashboard

Open Dashboard in the case screen to perform timeline analysis for investigation.

Step 2: Examine Email Timeline
This timeline analysis tool provides you the option for viewing emails according to a specific date. Using this feature, investigators can examine emails based on their date of creation.

Step 3: View Timeline Details 
Users can see the number of emails created on a particular date in the form of a graph.

 

Conclusion

Link analysis in digital forensics is the process of finding a connection or relationship between network nodes or users. And, timeline analysis in digital forensics is performed to obtain the processed information at a particular period. The above featured digital forensic tool which provides both the features at a single platform that will help the investigators to visualize and obtain the information promptly. It also helps to create an effective report using the obtained information.