IT Forensics (as part of CASED)


The police and other authorities are challenged by the new forms of communication in the Web 2.0, which are increasingly used for preparing, organizing, or committing crimes such as:

  • Sexual harassment of children
  • Distribution of illegal and dangerous materials
  • Planning of unauthorized demos, terror acts, etc.
  • Announcement of rampages and suicides
  • Weapon, drug, or human trafficking

To make information on the Web manageable for manual inspection, we aim to research methods for processing natural language documents.


  • Create tools which aid in investigating crimes on the Web
  • Find relevant documents using a semantic search
  • Identify relevant information bits (persons, places, times)
  • Analyze the relations between them


The research of methods for analyzing material on the Web can be split up into three steps:

1. Data Acquisition: Crawling or creation of development data using the Web

  • Definition of relevant scenarios and data sources with support from the authorities
  • ISPs, social network providers etc. will assist in providing interfaces, metadata etc.
  • Cleaning and preprocessing, e.g. treatment of typos, slang…

2. Data Analysis: Development/application of state of the art Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques. Example Use: identification of key persons in an extremist forum, analysis of their relationships and the content of their posts.

  • Semantically enriched document retrieval
  • Keyphrase Extraction
  • Topic Clustering
  • Named Entity Recognition / Disambiguation
  • Relationship Extraction
  • Automatic Summarization

3. Presentation of Results: Development of user interfaces for:

  • Visualizing and highlighting relevant results
  • Interactive exploration of the result space
  • Assistance for transferring results into evidence usable in court


Here are descriptions of some of our projects within IT Forensics.

Academic Partners

  • CCICADA (Command, Control and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analysis)

Research Director: Prof. Dr. Eduard Hovy

Various high-profile projects in this area

United States Department of Homeland Security

EU-Projects for fighting child pornography

Coordinator: Dr. Armin Stahl, DFKI


  • Prof. Dr. Iryna Gurevych, Principal Investigator
  • Emily Jamison, Doctoral Researcher

Former staff:

  • Michael Matuschek, TU Darmstadt