Major New Research Grant in Triage for the Detection of Digital Contraband


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The research team at Edinburgh Napier University have won a major new research grant which will aim to take existing work on the detection of digital fragments onto a spin-out company.

The work aims to collaborate with a range of partners to take existing PhD work (undertaken by Phil Penrose) into a commercial and law enforcement environment.

More details on the research work here.

Increasing challenges of digital investigations

A key focus will be the fast detection of contraband material on storage systems. At the present time it can take over 10 hours to archive and fully process computer systems, and the team have shown that this can be brought down to minutes with the application of a fragment finding method. Along with this, digital forensics is facing many challenges, including with the number of devices which might be used in an investigation.

More information on the increasing challenges of digital investigations are outlined here.


The work will be funded by Scottish Enterprise as part of their Proof-of-Concept scheme, and is based on PhD work undertaken by Phil Penrose, Prof Bill Buchanan and Richard Macfarlane.

Building on success

The research team currently work with many companies on innovative research, including with Payfont in the investigation of advanced security architectures for Cloud-based storage.

The team have also successful in spinning-out two Cyber Security companies:

  1. Zonefox.  Zonefox's focus is around data loss prevention, using advanced methods of monitoring the events on networked systems.
  2. Symphonic Trust. Symphonic Trust have developed a trust and governance infrastructure that allow organisations to share information in a well defined way.
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Associated people

William Buchanan
Director of CDCS
+44 131 455 2759
Richard Macfarlane
+44 131 455 2335
Bruce Ramsay
Senior Research Fellow
+44 131 455 2746
Owen Lo
Research Fellow
+44 131 455
Philip Penrose
Research student
+44 131 455
Aileen Wood
Innovation Manager / Project Manager
+44 131 455 6283
Electronic information now plays a vital role in almost every aspect of our daily lives. So the need for a secure and trustworthy online infrastructure is more important than ever. without it, not only the growth of the internet but our personal interactions and the economy itself could be at risk.