We recently sat down to talk with Magnet Forensics VP of Product Management, Geoff MacGillivray, about the Magnet Forensics product line, including what’s new in Magnet AXIOM and our commitment to Magnet IEF.
Q: Thanks for talking with us, Geoff. To start, can you give us a brief update on what’s new with Magnet AXIOM?
Geoff: Absolutely — we’re really excited to have just announced the upcoming availability of Magnet AXIOM Cloud, a new product that will acquire and process evidence from cloud-based services. The Cloud evidence can be integrated with evidenced obtained using Magnet AXIOM Smartphone and Magnet AXIOM Computer and integrate it all into the same case. Criminals don’t commit crimes solely based on the technology they use, so there’s no reason why investigators should be looking at separate strands of evidence as if they’re unrelated. We’ve really built the most comprehensive and integrated tool with AXIOM.
With the avalanche of digital evidence coming into labs everywhere, examiners need tools that save them time. That’s why we’ve done things like integrate Passware right into the forensic workflow to provide full disk decryption, and brought in new innovative features like Magnet.AI, which uses machine learning to automatically detect context in chat evidence and flags it to the examiner to review first when sifting through the information. Best of all, these features can all be found directly within AXIOM at no additional cost — giving customers a truly great value.
We’re also introducing new features later this year that will make it easier to find evidence — but I can’t quite talk about those yet!
Q: Many customers first became fans of Magnet Forensics because of Magnet IEF. Where do you see IEF in the Magnet Forensics product line and what kind of future do you see for IEF?
Geoff: IEF has been an extremely valuable tool for digital forensics examiners since its introduction — using an artifacts-first approach to get them the evidence that they need.
Our customers absolutely love IEF when they need a complementary tool to augment the work they’re doing with other solutions. When they need to do a deeper analysis of the case, quickly validate evidence items and use deeper analysis features, that’s when they look to AXIOM.
We will continue to actively support IEF. In the last year alone, we released 12 updates to IEF with new and updated artifact support and bug fixes. That’s not going to stop.
Q: Can you tell us more about the recent partnerships that Magnet Forensics has utilized to enhance AXIOM?
Geoff: A big emphasis we’ve placed on our partnerships has been on how we can better improve the forensic workflow to help solve cases faster — particularly when it comes to crimes against children. We’ve partnered with Griffeye and Project VIC to identify hash sets known in the Project VIC database and export them to Griffeye Analyze DI for categorization, saving examiners time and effort as they work to analyze and share all findings for the whole case.
Over the past few Magnet AXIOM updates, we’ve also introduced new features in partnership with other companies that create a more seamless experience for users. These include a partnership with Passware to provide decryption on Bitlocker and a partnership with F-Response for remote collection of evidence. As AXIOM evolves, we’ll continue to look at other possibilities for any partnerships that will help AXIOM be the all-in-one tool examiners need.
Q: You mentioned Magnet.AI earlier and it has been a valuable feature for examiners working child exploitation cases — what are the plans for future areas?
Geoff: We’re very excited about the future of Magnet.AI. Introduced with Magnet AXIOM 1.1, Magnet.AI is an industry-first feature that saves examiners hours of investigative time when working child luring cases — using machine learning to help serve up results without the manual work of combing through unsorted data.
Magnet.AI will be a technology that will be extremely useful in crimes beyond luring and we’re working very hard on building out those capabilities, as well as adding support for different languages. Stay tuned to the Magnet Forensics Blog and Twitter account for any updates.
Q: One last question: what would you say the most important aspect is in developing new features for Magnet AXIOM?
Geoff: You may have heard us say this before, but it’s still completely true: We are 100% committed to our customers. Our mission at Magnet Forensics is to help them uncover the truth — we want to be there every step of the way to make sure they’re spending their extremely valuable time doing the work they need to do and not sifting through mountains of evidence that can slow them down along the way. We make it our mission to figure out what it is we can do in our product to help them protect society’s most vulnerable people and it is extremely important that we listen to every bit of feedback that comes to us.
We regularly ask customers to tell us their pain points and we look at the problem to see how we can help solve it. One good example is Source Linking. We built AXIOM to support file system access and analysis and we wanted this functionality to seamlessly integrate with the artifacts. By adding active links between the artifact view and file system, examiners could quickly and easily validate relevant evidence — so, we didn’t just add the file system but integrated it to save time in the forensic workflow.