This month’s Social Engineer podcast discussed a tactic to identify bad guys through writing style, something the hosts expressed surprise was possible.
This won’t be news to anyone who minored in English or Communications or Journalism. A lot of factors go into style—where we grew up, where our parents are from, what we read growing up, our life experience, and it really is like a fingerprint. Fitzgerald’s Gatsby called everyone “Old Sport,” and we all have something like that, it’s just usually more subtle. I’ll say, “taste this,” when my wife or mother in law will say “taste of this.” That’s a regional thing. I pick up on that because I’m interested in language. A really good linguist can pick up on a lot more than that, and machine learning can potentially pick up on still more.
If you recall, it was the Unabomber’s long manifesto that brought down Ted Kaczynski. Other forensics proved it, but the investigation began with his brother’s observation that the manifesto “sounded like Ted.”