Filehound Lets Police Sniff Out Renamed Porn and Other Files on Hard Drives

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Filehound is software that allows law enforcement officials to quickly scan a hard drive and determine the true nature of the contents of an image file that has been renamed to appear to be something else. For example, Filehound will tell you if that file named “innocentfile.doc” is really not a .doc file at all, but a .jpg file.

Renaming a file which it is illegal to possess, such as some sorts of pornography, to make it appear to be a more innocuous type of file, is a common tactic among those trying to hide their illicit files.


The Filehound software is installed on the laptop of a law enforcement agency, and brought to the suspect’s computer. The two computers are hooked together, and Filehound searches the suspect’s computer for any files that contain photo data, alerting the police to files which contain photo data that is hidden behind a different type of file name.

Filehound is a project created at Purdue University by Professors Marcus Rogers and Richard Mislan, and graduate student Blair Gillam.

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3 thoughts on “Filehound Lets Police Sniff Out Renamed Porn and Other Files on Hard Drives

  1. Ummm…. Just what’s new about this ? I guess Filehound checks a file’s header to see what type of file it really is. IrfanView (for example) has done this for years.

    Also I’d expect Filehound to fail in finding “any files that contain photo data” when someone uses an encrypted Zip is used to “hide their illicit files”. Filehound appears to be useful only for catching the most stupid of criminals, and for making money from non-computer-savy LEOs.

  2. In a related matter, found this on the Oogle Earth Blog tonight:
    The case for encrypting GPS data
    Tuesday, October 17, 2006 (07:35 UTC)
    Dean Brown of Racine, Wisconsin, has unwittingly made the case for encryption in GPS units. He was pulled over by police while driving with freshly harvested marijuana in his car and arrested, according to the Racine Report. But that was just the start of his troubles:

    Deputies found a GPS unit around Brown’s neck with coordinates to areas throughout Racine County, the complaint said. On Saturday, Metro Drug agents plugged coordinates saved in Brown’s GPS unit into Google Earth… … and they found all his grow sites. And now he faces 59 years in prison! For marijuana!

    What a dummy.

  3. Sounds a lot like Hitler’s 1930’s Germany…!

    The Gestapo is alive and well in the good ole USA!

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