Dr. Jeremy Allnutt is a Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at George Mason University with a focus in communications and signal processing, computer networking, and telecommunications.
The explosive growth in the use of instant messaging (IM) communication in both personal and professional environments has resulted in an increased risk to proprietary, sensitive, and personal information and safety due to the influx of IM-assisted cybercrimes, such as phishing, social engineering, threatening, cyber bullying, hate speech and crimes, child exploitation, sexual harassment, and illegal sales and distribution of software. IM-assisted cybercrimes are continuing to make the news with child exploitation, cyber bullying, and scamming leading last month’s headlines. Instant messaging’s anonymity and use of virtual identities hinders social accountability and presents a critical challenge for cybercrime investigation. Cyber forensic techniques are needed to assist cybercrime decision support tools in collecting and analyzing digital evidence, discovering characteristics about the cyber criminal, and assisting in identifying cyber criminal suspects.