Wednesday, 09 Mar, 2011 Technology

Latest Invention: Technique that Accurately Identifies Authors of Anonymous Emails


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According to scientists from Concordia University, they managed to come up with a way of identifying the author of anonymous emails. What is even more impressive is that the invention is permissible in the court of law.

It is worth mentioning that often the police is able to identify an IP address to find out where an email has come from, however, in most cases they find several people at that address.

Together with his team, Benjamin Fung, a professor of information systems engineering, made use of methods that are used in speech recognition and data mining in order to identify recurrent patterns, i.e. distinctive combinations of features that repeat in a suspect's emails.

For example, an anonymous email can have typos or grammatical mistakes, or can be written entirely in lowercase letters. Researchers make use of those exclusive features to create a write-print.

"Using this method, we can even determine with a high degree of accuracy who wrote a given email, and infer the gender, nationality and education level of the author," said Fung.

In order to see the effectiveness of the new technique, researchers analyzed the Enron Email Dataset, which is a collection of more than 200,000 real-life emails from 158 employees of the Enron Corporation.

The team used a sample of 10 emails written by each of 10 subjects. The technique showed an accuracy of 80 to 90 percent in identifying the authorship, reports Gizmag.

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