Towards Syntactic Approximate Matching-A Pre-Processing Experiment

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Jeong, D., Breitinger, F., Kang, H., & Lee, S. (2016). Towards Syntactic Approximate Matching-A Pre-Processing Experiment. Journal of Digital Forensics, Security and Law, 11(2), 97 - 110.

Publication type

Article in Scientific Journal


Over the past few years, the popularity of approximate matching algorithms (a.k.a. fuzzy hashing) has increased. Especially within the area of bytewise approximate matching, several algorithms were published, tested, and improved. It has been shown that these algorithms are powerful, however they are sometimes too precise for real world investigations. That is, even very small commonalities (e.g., in the header of a file) can cause a match. While this is a desired property, it may also lead to unwanted results. In this paper, we show that by using simple pre-processing, we significantly can influence the outcome. Although our test set is based on text-based file types (cause of an easy processing), this technique can be used for other, well-documented types as well. Our results show that it can be beneficial to focus on the content of files only (depending on the use-case). While for this experiment we utilized text files, Additionally, we present a small, self-created dataset that can be used in the future for approximate matching algorithms since it is labeled (we know which files are similar and how).


Organizational Units

  • Institute of Information Systems
  • Hilti Chair for Data and Application Security