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Rise in Child Abuse Websites on the Internet?

March 01 2011

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a charitable organisation established to provide a point of contact in the UK to report illegal content online, recently released their 2010 Annual Report.  Their main goal is to take down or block websites containing indecent images of children.

In 2010, over 16,000 websites were identified with potentially criminal content – an increase of almost 90% on the year before.  Whilst this is a worrying statistic, the IWF also point out that the number of indecent images available is not increasing – they are just much more widely spread.

This poses a challenge in digital forensics.  The wider proliferation of these images makes it a lot easier to accidently access this type of content.  In fact, the IWF received over 48,000 reports in 2010, many likely to be from users who have accidently stumbled across these images.

The challenge for digital forensic investigators is not only identifying where an image came from, but also the surrounding activity of the user.  What path did the user take to get to the website?  Was it a link from a legitimate website, or did they deliberately search for this type of content?  And was this activity consistent with the user’s usual browsing habits?

A full forensic examination of the computer may be able to answer these questions for you.  Contact our digital department now if you would like to discuss these issues in your client’s case.

Sources: 

Summary on The Register:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/16/internet_watch_foundation_celebrates_15_year_anniversary/

The Report on IWF’s website:

http://www.iwf.org.uk/assets/media/annual-reports/Internet%20Watch%20Foundation%20Annual%20Report%202010%20web.pdf

Author

Ross Donnelly

Ross Donnelly
BSc (Hons), CFCE

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