The United States Secret Service has announced an intention to procure software as well as support services from Waterloo’s Magnet Forensics, in the form of its IEF (Internet Evidence Finder) packed onto 96 USB dongles, which typically retail for $1,149 each.
IEF is a forensic data recovery tool that searches hard drives for both existing and deleted files.
The software can search through cloud-based data too, including social media, IM chats, P2P file sharing, webmail, mobile backups, browser history, pictures and video. And although the technology is targeted to law enforcement and government, anyone can buy it off the shelf.
“Anything you’re doing on your computer to communicate—uploading pictures, going to chat rooms—there’s a good chance we can find it,” says CEO Adam Belsher.
Belsher is a former RIM exec and joined the company in 2011. “We’re in a stellar position,” he says. ”We have the staff in place to develop, market and sell new products and generate revenue on our existing products. Now we’re just figuring out how to take our technology across different platforms—like tablets and mobile—and considering challenges like the localization of languages so we can become more relevant to our customers as they perform their digital investigations in international markets.”
The product itself was developed by Jad Saliba, who as a 26-year-old police officer was forced to take a leave of absence when he developed Hodgkins’ lymphoma. On his return, he was yanked off active service and sent to the forensics department. His natural aptitude and curiosity led him to develop a proto-version of IEF during his off-time, called JAD, which there was no serious software equivalent of at that time. He left the force in 2009 to continue developing the product through his own company, which has grown through revenue rather than investment.
Magnet Forensics’ revenue has increased 1,800% in the past two years and the company recently snagged the number number seven spot on its Profit Magazine’s 14th annual PROFIT HOT 50, which the magazine describes as “the definitive ranking of Canada’s Top New Growth Companies”.