Photo Forensics

Photos taken by smart phones and cameras contain a lot of extra information that the average person may not know exists. Additional metadata exists within photos and videos that is known as exif information. Photo forensic analysis can be performed to extract and reveal fraud and manipulation of fabricated photos. Accidents often occur under the close watch of cameras or individuals that may be using smart phones to record the events that took place. Parties in litigation may need to know the actual date a photo was created. Photo forensics performed by a qualified forensics expert would be able to learn the true date of an accident by examining the photo. The expert who is skilled in extracting embedded photo meta data can help insurance companies with uncovering fraud from bogus insurance claims. Photo forensics has proven important in solving crimes of all types and resolving civil litigation disputes. Watch the following video of Enigma Forensics’s CEO discussing some sample disputes where photo forensics played an important role in getting to the truth of what events really took place.

The transcript of the video on photo forensics follows:

Lee Neubecker: I want to talk a little bit about how computer forensics can play a role in proving fraud, both in litigation and insurance claims.

In a situation where someone produces photos, it’s often not known that those photos have embedded metadata that canbe extracted. Information such as GPS, positioning of the photo, other information including what camera or application was used to generate the photo, and the original creation of that photo can be found, and those dates don’t necessarily align with the file reported date.

In one instance, a situation happened where someone was injured in a vehicular accident, and a camera was on scene that had recorded video. And that video was able to be extracted to show other vehicles in the area and who was at fault. That’s a basic scenario.

But in a different situation involving a bicycle tragedy, someone was ran over by a car, and the contractor who had been working on the scene renovating a house nearby, had alleged that there were sufficient markers to prevent the bicyclers from going down a certain bike path where things were happening. And unfortunately, the biker passed away from this accident.

What was interesting is, after the litigation from the family ensued, photos were captured by the contractor who had responsibility for marking the right of way and protecting people riding their bicycles from coming into harms way. They produced photos that showed cones in certain positions as well as other signage and markers, except when I examined those photos, I determined that those photos were actually created more than a month and a half after the accident. Furthermore, there were other problems in that the name of the files for the photos that were produced didn’t conform to the format that the Apple phone typically produces. And so, it was clear to me that the photos had been manipulated.

The last reported software that was used showed that an Apple editing program had altered the photos. So there were many issues relating to the integrity of those photos that were produced. The file name not following a proper convention, other aspects of the file names that supported that they were fraud, and the dates and time stamps and the lack of other GPS records that would have been there had a iPhone been used to take the picture.

So there were some serious concerns there. Other things including the low resolution of the photos at 75 DPI were suggestive that this wasn’t a photo that was normally taken with a smart phone, but a photo that was used to try to conduct a hoax.

So it’s important if you’re dealing with photos in litigation, that you look at those photos and have someone qualified to extract the metadata and tell you exactly what happened as it relates to the origin of those photos and where they were taken from.

If you’re looking for help with that, our firm is a expert in computer forensics. We have experience analyzing videos as well as photos and would be happy to help you. Call Enigma Forensics 312-668-0333.