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Title: Tools for Understanding Identity

Identity attribution and enrichment is critical to many aspects of law-enforcement and intelligence gathering; this identity typically spans a number of domains in the natural-world such as biographic information (factual information – e.g. names, addresses), biometric information (e.g. fingerprints) and psychological information. In addition to these natural-world projections of identity, identity elements are projected in the cyber-world. Conversely, undesirable elements may use similar techniques to target individuals for spear-phishing attacks (or worse), and potential targets or their organizations may want to determine how to minimize the attack surface exposed. Our research has been exploring the construction of a mathematical model for identity that supports such holistic identities. The model captures the ways in which an identity is constructed through a combination of data elements (e.g. a username on a forum, an address, a telephone number). Some of these elements may allow new characteristics to be inferred, hence enriching the holistic view of the identity. An example use-case would be the inference of real names from usernames, the ‘path’ created by inferring new elements of identity is highlighted in the ‘critical information’ panel. Individual attribution exercises can be understood as paths through a number of elements. Intuitively the entire realizable ‘capability’more » can be modeled as a directed graph, where the elements are nodes and the inferences are represented by links connecting one or more antecedents with a conclusion. The model can be operationalized with two levels of tool support described in this paper, the first is a working prototype, the second is expected to reach prototype by July 2013: Understanding the Model The tool allows a user to easily determine, given a particular set of inferences and attributes, which elements or inferences are of most value to an investigator (or an attacker). The tool is also able to take into account the difficulty of the inferences, allowing the user to consider different scenarios depending on the perceived resources of the attacker, or to prioritize lines of investigation. It also has a number of interesting visualizations that are designed to aid the user in understanding the model. The tool works by considering the inferences as a graph and runs various graph-theoretic algorithms, with some novel adaptations, in order to deduce various properties. Using the Model To help investigators exploit the model to perform identity attribution, we have developed the Identity Map visualization. For a user-provided set of known starting elements and a set of desired target elements for a given identity, the Identity Map generates investigative workflows as paths through the model. Each path consists of a series of elements and inferences between them that connect the input and output elements. Each path also has an associated confidence level that estimates the reliability of the resulting attribution. Identity Map can help investigators understand the possible ways to make an identification decision and guide them toward the data-collection or analysis steps required to reach that decision.« less
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Conference: IEEE International Conference on Technologies for Homeland Security (HST 2013), November 12-14, 2013, Waltham, Massachusettes, 558-563
IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, United States(US).
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Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
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United States