Beacons and their uses for digital forensics purposes

Lubbe and Olivier


Citation information

L. L. Lubbe and M. S. Olivier. “Beacons and their uses for digital forensics purposes”. In: 2015 Information Security for South Africa (ISSA). 2015, pp. 1–6


This article relates to the field of digital forensics with a particular focus on web (World Wide Web) beacons and how they can be utilized for digital forensic purposes. A web beacon or more commonly ‘web bug’ is an example of a hidden resource reference in a webpage, which when the webpage is loaded, is requested from a third party source. The purpose of a web beacon is to track the browsing habits of a particular IP address. This paper proposes a novel technique that utilizes the presence of web beacons to create a unique ID for a website, to test this a practical investigation is performed. The practical investigation involves an automated scanning of web beacons on a number of websites, this scanning process involves identifying which beacons are present on a web page and recording the presence of those beacons, the results of this scanning process is then encoded into a table for human analyses. The result of the investigation show promise and incentivizes further research. Real world implications, future work and possible Improvements on the methods which were used in this study are finally discussed.

Definitive version

The definitive version of the paper is available from the publisher.
DOI: 10.1109/ISSA.2015.7335074

BibTeX reference

author={Luke L Lubbe and Martin S Olivier},
title={Beacons and their uses for digital forensics purposes}, booktitle={2015 Information Security for South Africa (ISSA)}, year={2015}, pages={1-6} )

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