Feeds

Researcher attempts to shed light on security troll

It's all in the writing style

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Moreover, Krawetz's forensics analysis does not stand up well, said Carole Chaski, a forensic linguist and principal researcher at the Institute for Linguistic Evidence, Inc. Chaski makes a living out of researching ways of identifying authors and has analysed suicide notes and threatening email in criminal cases to determine authorship.

She stressed that techniques such as measuring vocabulary, spelling errors and grammar errors are not good methods of identifying a document's author.

"This whitepaper floats some of these erroneous ideas which have already been shown by research, which the whitepaper is apparently unaware of, to be fairly unreliable for authorship analysis," Chaski said in an email interview.

Chaski also took to task the paper's assertion that, if the errors in the methods were consistent in either being right or wrong, then the accuracy of the identification is improved.

"There is an old expression 'two wrongs do not make a right' which applies here," Chaski said. "If one method is only 60 per cent accurate and it is combined with another method - for the nonce let us assume an independent method - which is only 60 per cent accurate, than the combined method has an accuracy rate of 36 per cent, far below chance. One would be better off guessing than combining unreliable methods."

Security consultant Krawetz started researching the identity of n3td3v after another Full Disclosure subscriber challenged him to use linguistic forensics - a topic on which Krawetz presented at this year's Black Hat Security Briefings - to uncover the person's identity. He started with the hypothesis that n3td3v and Gobbles were the same and used methods of gender determination as well as analysing lexicon, word frequency, punctuation frequency and preferred sentence length to create a profile of the two groups.

The analysis seemed to indicate that n3td3v had three members and Gobbles had three or four main members. The characteristics of three members of each group seemed to match up.

Krawetz acknowledges that some aspects of his analysis could have significant error. For example, this is the first time that he attempted to analyse documents to match up three different authors, a research problem that ILE's Chaski believes to be untenable.

Krawetz hopes that, if his analysis is shown to be in error, it will ultimately benefit his research.

"Very few people are using these techniques just because they are new technologies," he said. "On the other hand, if someone comes out and shows me I'm wrong, it could help me tune my system."

This article originally appeared in Security Focus.

Copyright © 2006, SecurityFocus

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.