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The All-New Media Explorer in Magnet AXIOM 5.0

Investigations that center around media review and analysis often require additional examination time as lab personnel examine images and video found on devices. These investigations can range from ICAC to corporate investigators conducting searches for screenshots of potential intellectual property theft. In this blog we’ll highlight the new Media Explorer found within AXIOM and how examiners can use it within their examination workflows.

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Over the years we’ve worked hard to make media review improvements to AXIOM. In 2018 we expanded Magnet.AI capabilities beyond contextual chat analysis and added picture analysis for child exploitation, nudity, and potential screenshots. We also focused on improving Magnet.AI’s performance, adding additional support for NVIDIA GPU hardware to help with increasing image classifications speeds*. In 2019 we completely revamped our Project VIC support, providing faster JSON exports, as well as receiving VICS certification for AXIOM for use with Project VIC and CAID hash sets.

Getting Started with Media Explorer

After updating to AXIOM 5.0, from the case dashboard users will use the case navigation drop down to navigate to the new Media Explorer. In order to use Media Explorer you’ll need to process the media in addition to the artifact processing that has already been completed; similar to how post-processing is needed for Connections and Timeline viewing. Post-processing for the Media Explorer will initiate when you select Media from the navigation drop down, or if you rather have features such as Timeline, Connections, and Media Explorer automatically post-process, navigate to settings from within AXIOM Examine and select the Post Processing options you’d like run for your future cases.

Now that the Media Explorer has been built, let’s take a look at what all it has to offer examiners as they review images and videos within AXIOM. With Media Explorer, the goal is to aid in providing investigators easy and intuitive means for culling images as they work through investigations. As you see to the right, down the left-hand side of AXIOM we have various filters that can quickly be used for just that. Whether investigators are working from leads they have from sources such as when a suspected crime occurred, or a specific location we can use the various filters found under the Investigation Leads section to narrow the search.

Users can also filter based on items such as camera make, model, serial numbers as well as attributes found within VICS hashsets such as Category and Categorization Source, to Identified offenders and victims. Additionally, filters for skin tone %, media attributes such a filtering by extension type, or even file attributes found on particular file system’s like APFS can help narrow results for examiners.

Additionally, we’ve included a new Hit Stacking feature, which groups media containing the same MD5 or SHA1 hash into a single item. Users will see numbers such as “1 of 5” with a stacked icon under each image within the media thumbnail view. In this example, there would be 5 copies of the same picture found in various locations within the evidence. Users can select the stack icon to reveal the matching hash and related information such as the locations the images were found.

Another welcomed addition to AXIOM is the ability to hover over image/video, which will provide a larger, higher resolution preview of the image or video. Users can also zoom and pan around an image within the preview. For videos you can use the mouse to quickly scroll through the contents of the video.

As we have in earlier releases of AXIOM includes purpose-built Officer Wellness features which can now be used while working within the Media Explorer. These include**:

  • Block, blur, or view thumbnails of media that has been graded
  • Mute sound when viewing videos
  • Set reminders to take breaks from grading media or an alert to stop grading for the day
  • Automatically apply categorization from known hash sets, like Project VIC or CAID, or from other known hash sets
  • Clear indicators of categorization progress so you can immediately see how much media has been graded

We’re excited for customers to give AXIOM 5.0’s new features a try. As always, don’t hesitate with to reach out if you need anything at trey.amick@magnetforensics.com.

* https://www.magnetforensics.com/blog/a-look-back-at-2018-resources-for-icac-investigations/

** https://www.magnetforensics.com/officer-wellness/

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