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Spotlight: Magnet Forensics offers digital forensic tools that help investigators save time and provide more accurate case resolutions

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Spotlight: Magnet Forensics offers digital forensic tools that help investigators save time and provide more accurate case resolutions

Magnet Forensics

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Company Name: Magnet Forensics
Headquarters: Herndon, VA
Signature Product: Magnet AXIOM
Website: https://www.magnetforensics.com/

Magnet Forensics is a global leader in providing digital forensics solutions that extract images, recover data and examine data from smartphones and computers – all in one. We give examiners everything they need to have one tool to start with. Magnet Forensics was built on the values of trust, selflessness, passion, making a difference, and pushing boundaries. Our products are built with an artifacts-first approach to forensics that helps investigative teams deal with the massive volume of data from native and third-party apps in a more intuitive way.

Q&A:

1. Where did your company name originate from?

Magnet Forensics is very much about being a company that empowers law enforcement, military, government and private enterprise in their quest for justice. We want to help them find more evidence and gain added insight from it – really pulling the evidence out and then shining a light on what the evidence is saying.

2. What was the inspiration behind starting your company?

Our founder, Jad Saliba, was a police officer, who started to work in the tech crimes unit and noticed that there was a lot of information from social media apps and networks that could be retrieved. Jad had a computer science background, and he built a tool to search for and recover data from social apps and to take a deeper look for browsing history. After giving away the app to the policing community, the demand for more support and different apps to be searched grew quickly and Jad decided to dedicate himself full-time to building tools that would empower digital forensics.

3. What is your signature product and how does it work?

Magnet AXIOM is the most comprehensive, integrated digital investigation platform available today. AXIOM can extract images from phones, computers, and other removable media and then search those images, or cloud services, or images ingested from other third-party acquisition tools for artifact data and file system data. AXIOM then provides a number of unique and intuitive tools for analyzing the recovered data - including data visualization in eight views, multiple filters, tagging, and more. The Connections explorer in AXIOM allows examiners to visualize the relationships and trace the path of files that are of interest - who uploaded it? From where? How was it shared? With whom? Was it intentional? AXIOM leverages Magnet.AI , an industry-first machine learning capability that searches chats and conversations for context that indicates child luring, which saves time and helps examiners prioritize the most critical conversations.

4. Why do you believe your products are essential to your vertical (Police, Fire, EMS, Corrections, Government) community?

The forensics and policing community (as well as the legal community and even enterprises) are being inundated with phones and data in all of their investigations. Everyone has a digital footprint that could be imperative to any investigation. They need to recover the most relevant data and with the number of stakeholders on cases increasing, they need to be able to showcase and explain their findings quickly and efficiently. Forensics is a highly skilled area, and we know our technology helps our customers recover more data, examine more data, and present their findings credibly and defensibly to the public, the courts, their peers or their external stakeholders.

5. What has been the biggest challenge your company has faced?

Fundamentally, we face the same challenges as our customers.

We want to help them find more digital evidence from smartphones, computers, IoT devices, the cloud, and more. But access to all of that data is changing - encryption, privacy apps, security settings - it's becoming a minefield. So, we are constantly looking for ways to help our customers use technology to find the evidence and to examine it in a clear and thoughtful way.

6. What makes your company unique?

We are a very modern software company. We iterate on our software almost every four weeks. We take the issues that our customers are facing and say, how do we apply modern technology to that problem? Are there new ways of looking at that problem? For instance, our customers needed to surface child grooming evidence quickly in order to get warrants, further search warrants, lay charges, and more, so we took a look at Artificial Intelligence. We asked how we could train the software to understand the nuances in conversation that are actually indicators of luring, even if to the untrained eye they aren't apparent at first. We worked with customers and were able to build Magnet.AI, which contextually searches conversations for child luring indicators. We will continue to grow that to support other types of crime as well. It's reliant on the data sets needed to train the software, but we have partners who are eager to help us with this.

7. What do your customers like best about you and your products?

We hear from people that we listen. It's something we have made sure to do! Our support team is amazing and always willing to help. They are quick and they really know the product. Our development team responds to issues and feature requests incredibly fast. I think we are known as a good partner. If people take the time to reach out to us, we take the time to listen and to act. In terms of product - we are what we say we are. We know that the best tools work well with others, so we make sure our product works with other tools. The goal is justice and we want to be part of that toolkit for everyone, to be sure, and we would even argue that you should run your phone dumps and computer images through AXIOM first to get a really deep, good starting point that looks into corners for data you didn't know would be there, but we are only part of the toolkit. That's an approach we support. People tell us that each new feature we add is an obvious benefit to them - like Connections which can trace the path of a file and visualize it, showing examiners the relationships that file has formed.

8. What is the most rewarding part of serving the first responder/local government community?

We have company-side meetings regularly, and every so often, Jad will share a story someone told us about how they used our tools to stop a predator or even prevent abuse. When we hear the stories about our work paying off in the justice system, that makes all the late nights worth it! We had a special agent from the FBI come and discuss with us how teams used one of our tools during the Boston Marathon bombing case to find more evidence and prove radicalization. It was very inspiring.

9. Do you support any charitable organizations within public safety/community?

Definitely. We are just in the process of understanding the objectives of U.S.-based charities that help children and others who are marginalized and need our help. In the meantime, we have worked as a team to raise money and provide support for the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and for the Child Witness Centre of Waterloo Region. We will continue to expand our philanthropic programs.

10. Is there any fun fact or trivia that you’d like to share with our users about you ou your company?

I'm relatively new to Magnet Forensics. When you join Magnet Forensics, you have to share three interesting facts about yourself and your favorite snack. The team is then invited to join you for a snack and get to know you, and everyone comes over and says hello and asks you about those three facts. It's such a friendly place to work. It was incredibly welcoming. That can be a rare thing.

11. What’s next for your company? Any upcoming new projects or initiatives?

We have a few interesting irons in the fire. One of the ones I am really intrigued by is our work with investigators and detectives, who wouldn't traditionally handle forensic capture on-scene. They might grab a phone and use a capture tool to get a quick or logical image, or they would take the phone to the forensics lab team, but those are both pretty time consuming. We are looking at how to ease some of that on-scene phone evidence capture - to both make it more likely to get on-scene evidence from a witness, and to lighten some of the load on the forensics team,who will still have to do the full examination of the confiscated phones and computers. People across the investigative team are pretty interested in this tool and how it will help them re- shape the investigation and get more in a much more timely way.

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