Task 2 – Graphic Forensic

case study |Adnan Hajj photographs controversy


what is the incident?

Involves digitally manipulated photographs taken by Adnan Hajj, a Lebanese freelance photographer based in the Middle East, who had worked for Reuters over a period of more than ten years. Hajj’s photographs were presented as part of Reuters’ news coverage of the 2006 Lebanon War, but Reuters has admitted that at least two were significantly altered before being published

who is perpetrator?

The first image was discovered on August 5, 2006 when blogger Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs wrote that the first image “shows blatant evidence of manipulation” (Adobe Photoshop clone stamp)

what are the effect to the victim?

On August 6, Reuters announced it would stop all cooperation with Adnan Hajj

what are the cause?

Critics point out that this is impossible, as Hajj’s doctored image added an entire plume of smoke, duplicated several buildings, and showed a repeating pattern indicating that one plume of smoke was “cloned” several times

what was the motive?

Hajj claimed he had just been trying to remove dust marks, and that he made mistakes due to the bad lighting conditions he was working under

what are the actions been taken by the victim?

Adnan Hajj don’t take any action because the evidence cannot be argue



Firstly, the digital evidence that can be used is device. This is a very important digital evidence as it stores the manipulated photo, original photo, components added to the manipulated photo, the software used and the social media application or website used to share the manipulated photo. Device here includes smart phones, mobile phones, laptops, computers and memory cards. Secondly, the digital evidence that can be included is applications. It involves web browser which is a platform that is largely used for social media. This is where the investigator can analyze the file metadata. If it involves word-processing applications. Thirdly, the digital evidence includes data which consists of the original image that is manipulated and the components used and added to the manipulated image. Fourthly, we will check the normal data contents such as documents, emails, file that been created in the alibi time of Adnan Hajj to compare it with regular days content to see any major differentiation. Lastly, the network log of the perpetrator’s device. When the investigators find the original post of the picture, there is a possibility the original picture has there.


The tool that will be used is forensically, a web-based image verification tool that consists of features like clone detection, error level analysis, meta data extraction and more.

i) Clone Detection – during this process,  this feature will highlight the manipulated or edited region within an image. This step is every essential as it will indicate the the photo has been manipulated.

ii) Error Level Analysis – this feature will can tell if the picture has been recompressed by clearly highlighting the recompressed / manipulated areas.

iii) Noise Analysis – this feature is similar to a reverse denoising algorithm. Instead of removing the noise of the image, it removes the rest of the image.


Social media bots are automated accounts that create posts or automatically follow new people whenever a certain term is mentioned. A large group of bots can form a network known as a botnet. Bots and botnets are prevalent on social media and are used to steal data, send spam, and launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that help cybercriminals gain access to people’s devices and networks.



  1. Adnan Hajj photographs controversy, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (URL)
  2. Social media privacy issues (URL)
  3. Reuters toughens rules after altered photo affair (URL)
  4. Altered Images (URL)
  5. 2006 Lebanon War photographs controversies (URL)

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