Software forensics: extending authorship analysis techniques to computer programs
Software forensics is the analysis of the syntactic, structural and semantic form of software in order to identify, characterise and discriminate between the authors of software products for some legal purpose. Determining software authorship may be important in several contexts: civil litigation involving allegations of software theft or plagiarism or apportioning liability for software failure; criminal litigation in relation to computer fraud or software attacks on computer systems using viruses and other similar means. Our focus is on forensic analysis of software source code, the structured English-like implementation of the algorithm selected to undertake the task at hand. We use a fictionalised version of a recent case to illustrate the potential of software forensics to provide evidence and also review in detail the judicial reception of such material.