Problem solved: A reliable, deterministic method for JPEG fragmentation point detection

Vincent van der Meer, Jeroen van den Bos, H.L. Jonker, Laurent Dassen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Recovery of deleted JPEG files is severely hindered by fragmentation. Current state-of-the-art JPEG file recovery methods rely on content-based approaches. That is, they consider whether a sequence of bytes translates into a consistent picture based on its visual representation, treating fragmentation indirectly, with varying results. In contrast, in this paper, we focus on identifying fragmentation points on bit-level, that is, identifying whether a candidate next block of bytes is a valid extension of the current JPEG. Concretely, we extend, implement and exhaustively test a novel deterministic algorithm for finding fragmentation points in JPEGs. Even in the worst case scenario, our implementation finds over 99.4 % of fragmentation points within 4 kB – i.e., within the standard block size on NTFS and exFAT file systems. As such, we consider the problem of detecting JPEG fragmentation points solved.
Original languageEnglish
Article number301687
Number of pages10
JournalForensic Science International: Digital Investigation
Issue numberSupplement
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


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