Monday, March 27, 2006

Name: Advanced Digital Forensic Solutions Inc.

Location: Silver Spring Innovation Center

Funding: The company has received $100,000 from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Challenge Program, a $75,000 loan from Maryland Technology Development Corp., and an undisclosed amount from private investors.

Big idea: ADF Solutions has created software that helps law enforcement agents quickly analyze large amounts of data contained on suspect computers to identify evidence or decide if a computer merits further analysis. "According to the FBI computer forensics team, between 1998 and 2003, the number of cybercrime cases increased threefold, but the amount of data increased 46 times," said J.J. Wallia, chief executive and co-founder. As criminals rely more on digital communication, Wallia said, the ability to analyze digital data has become a requirement for general law enforcement, not just for cybercrime investigations. ADF is initially focusing on specific crimes, including child exploitation, counterterrorism, counterfeiting, ID theft and financial crimes. By next year, ADF hopes to expand its offerings to the commercial sector.

How it works: Agents can create sets of suspect data for specific types of investigations and then use these SearchPaks to scan suspect computers. The software can identify text, pictures, video and other data files that match data in SearchPaks, even files that have been altered or masked to escape detection, Wallia said, adding that the software should also be able to analyze sound files by the end of the year.

The company uses content-based image retrieval technology, which condenses large image files down to small digital signatures that can be compared at a much faster rate. ADF provides two versions of the software: The first allows agents to perform detailed scans of seized computers at their headquarters; the second allows agents to perform a quicker onsite scan of a computer or hard drive while interviewing a suspect.

Where the idea was hatched: Wallia and co-founder and engineering director Raphael Bousquet had been selling software for a previous company that identified images for a variety of industries. "As we were doing this we discovered that the law enforcement needs were very, very specific," Wallia said. The two decided to launch their own company to target the niche.

Customers: ADF is testing its software at two agencies now and will begin testing with a third agency in the near future, Wallia said. He said he could not identify any of the agencies.

Price: The software will be licensed to the organizations using it. Wallia would not disclose pricing.

Founded: 2005

Who's in charge: Wallia; Bousquet; and Eugene Borovikov, director of research and development.

Employees: Six full time, six part time.

Web site:

Partners: David Doermann at the University of Maryland at College Park is working with the company through the Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program, which has provided $70,000 in funding to Doermann to work with the company.

What the name means: "To be completely honest, we had other names we preferred," Wallia said, "but the ADF Solutions domain name was available. It wasn't our first choice, but it wasn't our last choice either."

-- Andrea Caumont

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