Using i2 with a Mac – what are your options?

Although not prolific in Law Enforcement or Government Agencies, we are seeing an increase in the use of Macs in fraud analysis space. The sheer firepower of the M1/M2 chipset is hard to ignore and more Analysts are being given the choice of Mac or PC. We are not going to open the can of worms of discussing which is best, this blog will address the issue of how to get i2 to run on a Mac. This blog will concentrate on Mac’s with Apple Silicon (M1/M2)

i2 and Macs

Natively i2 is not compatible with a Mac operating system, in fact, it’s only compatible with a Windows desktop machine. I2’s visualisation product, Analyst’s Notebook, is considered the standard for charting data. For this reason, Mac users must find a way of getting it to run on their Mac. I2’s widely used analysis datastore, iBase, is also Windows-based and is designed to be run on a Windows server with SQL Server installed.

UTM

UTM is virtualisation tool that allows virtual machines (VMs) to be run on the Mac operating system. It’s open source (free), lightweight and quick to set up. You will need to purchase an appropriate Windows license.

it is a separate environment with little interaction with the Mac OS. Setting up a cloud drive (OneDrive or Google Drive for example) helped but it always felt removed. It’s also a pain remembering where supporting tools (like Excel) are installed.

https://www.uubyte.com/blog/how-to-install-windows-11-on-mac-with-utm/

Parallels

Parallels is like UTM but with more interaction between Windows and the Operating System. It’s possible to add Windows applications like i2 onto the Mac dock, so it opens as if it is installed on the Mac. We also found that dealing with files is far more intuitive.

There is a cost to Parallels, on top of the Windows operating system cost. However, if you use applications like i2 or PowerBI daily then the additional cost may be worth it.

S-branch Analyst’s Workspaces

We are fortunate enough to be able to install tools like the above on our machines and trial them. Some IT departments will not want the additional cost or time of supporting additional tools like the above.

If this sounds like your organisation there is another option. S-branch has partnered with Bytes and Amazon Web Services to offer pre-configured cloud environments for users of i2. These hosted environments come loaded with the latest versions of the i2 software suite and the necessary tools for an analyst to do their magic.

Each environment is dedicated and licensed to one client, meaning your data is secure, encrypted and only accessed by you and your team. Being cloud-based, these environments can be available all the time, be leased on a monthly basis or even ‘rested’ when not required.

The main benefit is that i2 can be accessed through your Mac, on a Windows machine, on a tablet, even through a browser.

S-branch

We’ve been part of the i2 journey since 2006, either as trainers, technical consultants or marketers. Through these roles, we’ve worked with several police forces both in the UK and abroad, charities, insurance firms, law firms, government agencies, and commercial clients.

If you’re an i2 user and require technical expertise, please feel free to contact us

Learn how to create i2 Association and Timeline charts

Do you prefer learning at your own pace?

Shortest Path Training Ltd and S-branch are proud to announce a whole new way for you to gain your i2 skills.

Online Self-paced Learning

With our first course focused on creating charts in i2 Analyst’s Notebook. These online self-paced courses are perfect for motivated individuals who are either unable to attend Shortest Path Training’s tutor-led classroom or online training, or who learn better on their own and at their own pace.
Each course is structured using tried and tested training methodologies, and delivered to Shortest Path Training’s usual high standards, utilising many years of proven experience training organisations around the globe at both a local and national level.

How does it work?

The learning environment is accessed through a web browser, and on starting the course you will be guided by defined learning objectives, video explanations, and examples; and will then have the opportunity to practice each lesson by downloading course materials and using your own copy of i2 Analyst’s Notebook to complete exercises. To reinforce and check your learning we have also included a series of multiple-choice questions for you to complete as you progress.

What skills will you gain?

“I want to be able to create Association and Timeline charts for visualisation and to learn how to structure charts correctly to enable effective analysis.”

  • Learn how to build and structure Association and Timeline charts to enable understanding of the key concepts of Entities and Links
  • Learn how to create charts that enable accurate analysis and effective interpretation of networks and sequences
  • Learn how to annotate briefing and presentation charts, and how to convert your charts into other file types for dissemination

Objectives

By the end of the course, delegates will be able to:

  • Add data to create both an Association and a Sequence of Events chart: using Types, Identities, Labels, Pictures, Attributes, Links, Date & Time, Direction and Line Strengths
  • Annotate charts using Labels and a Legend, and save them in both PDF and Picture format

Is this course right for you?

This course is aimed at:

  • New, self-taught, or informally taught users; and those who want to refresh their knowledge Those for whom tutor-led training is not suitable due to time or other constraints
  • Those who are self-motivated and prefer to learn on their own

Testimonials

The ability to repeat the training videos is very practical, as the trainee can refer to the course materials at any time.


The trainer presented the materials in a professional way; bringing appropriate examples on the subjects, like how to use tools, or different ways to reach some steps.


The training sessions were distributed in a very orderly way, as information is provided gradually, which helps in understanding the subject easier and faster.

Excellent! How do I book on?

For further information and to book yourself onto the course, please email Shortest Path Training at Info@shortestpathtraining.co.uk. Further information on the course can be found here: Download Course Information

i2 Analyst’s Notebook – Online Self-Paced Learning

Shortest Path Training and S-branch are delighted to offer i2 Analyst’s Notebook Online Self-Paced Learning, which will be available to our customers from early 2023. Our training is designed for our customers tackling fraud and crime in a variety of sectors.

Our course is delivered by Shortest Path’s highly experienced trainers who specialise in the software. We’ve taken their extensive experience in delivering classroom training to build a video led, self-paced learning environment that allows you to learn software effectively at your own pace, around your existing commitments.

The course contains several lessons which in turn include: Lesson objectives, professionally filmed training videos, multiple choice exercises and course files ready for you to download and have a go on your own system.

The course is designed to be taken at a time that suits you and all pre-requisites will be stated at the start of each lesson.

For further information and to register your interest please email us at: info@shortestpathtraining.co.uk

Online Self-Paced Training

What skills will you gain?

  • Build and structure Association and Timeline charts to enable understanding of the key concepts of Entities and Links, such as:
    • Identity & Label
    • Date & Time; and
    • Attributes
  • This will allow the effective creation of charts for interpreting networks, sequences, and accurate analysis
  • You will also learn how to create briefing charts, as well as how to correctly prepare them for dissemination

S-branch

We’ve been part of the i2 journey since 2006, either as trainers, technical consultants or marketers. Through these roles, we’ve worked with several police forces both in the UK and abroad, charities, insurance firms, law firms, government agencies, and commercial clients.

If you’re an i2 user and require technical expertise, please feel free to contact us

Case Study: Targeting Natural Resource Corruption

TNRC

The best thing about S-branch is our customers. Without exception, all our customers are using data to disrupt or prevent Crime or Fraud. TRAFFIC is one example, working to counter trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

In 2021 TRAFFIC initiated a project to identify potential instances of corruption in the timber sector, specifically at the point where politically exposed persons (PEPs) allocate companies the rights to harvest wood. The end goal is to use this data to provide credible evidence to financial institutions, encouraging them to investigate further and take action where needed. TRAFFIC’s project was funded under a larger project: Targeting Natural Resource Corruption (TNRC).

The Method

TRAFFIC has access to several different analytical tools and databases. They also have a talented team from a variety of different backgrounds. S-branch was involved early in the process, initially to review TRAFFIC’s method and how they planned to utilise technology. There was an appetite to use technology that TRAFFIC had previously invested in, although a few new tools were added to the arsenal!

Data Collection

ParseHub

Once the country of interest had been selected, the data collection itself was managed by TRAFFIC. There is a wealth of online published information around forestry concessions usually published by the government themselves. Likewise, there is a good amount of information around Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), sometimes including their family members.

In some cases, TRAFFIC could download the information directly. In other cases, TRAFFIC used ParseHub to scrape data that couldn’t easily be downloaded.

Data Processing

The data collected was varied in its format. While not huge in size it was no small task to coerce this data into a standard format for analysis. This is usually the difficult, time consuming and less glamorous side of analysing data.

Excel

There were several challenges with standardising the data, including inconsistencies with the use of accents on names. There was also the need to identify similar people or company names. TRAFFIC managed these tasks in house with data management and occasionally some code. Although the initial analysis was done Excel, TRAFFIC and S-branch eventually moved the data to an analysis database (i2 iBase) to allow patterns in the data to be explored.

Identifying Persons of Interest (i2)

The initial stage was to identify forestry owners and PEPs with similar names that lived in the same region.TRAFFIC has been using i2 Analyst’s Notebook and i2 iBase for several years. S-branch decided to utilise these tools to identify Persons of Interest for further analysis. i2’s ability to display network visualisations alongside geospatial data made it the perfect tool for this.

i2 Analysis Chart

People with very similar names in the same town were marked in red, while those in a similar region were marked in orange.

Data Enrichment (Videris)

The People of Interest were then investigated further using basic OSINT (Open-Source Intelligence) techniques. TRAFFIC and S-branch also utilised Videris, an OSINT tool that assists in collecting, analysing and visualising open-source data.

On more than one occasion Videris identified social media accounts or news articles that had not been found on the manual OSINT searches. For this reason, we found Videris invaluable for the enrichment stage.

Videris

Briefing (i2)

The results of the data enrichment were collected to brief the internal teams. These briefing charts could eventually be passed to financial institutions, to encourage them to investigate further.

i2 Briefing Chart

Here i2 Analyst’s Notebook was the obvious choice for producing clear and concise briefing content. i2 is widely regarded as the standard for charting which means anything TRAFFIC has made can easily be passed to law enforcement or financial institutions who more than likely already use i2.

High-Level Analysis (Power BI)

There was an appetite to look at the data from ‘the top down’. This analysis would identify patterns and statistical trends. This data would be useful to both the TRAFFIC analysis team and their managers and stakeholders. It would also need to be in a format that is easy to consume, easy to share and didn’t require any specific analysis tools to view.

TRAFFIC are already users of Power BI. This meant that using just a browser, the TRAFFIC team could access interactive dashboards exploring data about PEPs and forestry concession owners. The visualisation below explores the information known about PEPs.

Power

Summary

The TNRC project proves that it is not one person or piece of technology that makes a project successful. It’s a collaboration of talented people and technology that used well can yield good results.

TRAFFIC already had access to several different analytical tools and databases. They also have a talented team from a variety of different backgrounds. TRAFFIC’s talent was combined with S-branch’s experience in analysing fraud and crime data, using a variety of different tools and technology.

To find out more about the TNRC project, please see TRAFFIC’s blog here. If you are looking at running a similar project and are looking at analysis tools to assist you, please contact S-branch for more information.

For more information on TRAFFIC visit their website. If you’d like to find out more about the products mentioned in this blog, please contact S-branch

i2 finds a new home – why we think that’s great!

i2 Home

Since 1990 i2 has been providing its customers with accessible and intuitive data analysis tools. Analyst’s Notebook has now become the standard for charting data and is used in nearly all of the UK police forces. The potential of Analyst’s Notebook sitting on top of a database was very quickly understood. This understanding spawned the release of iBase, iBridge and later on enterprise solutions such as EIA.

This movement towards visualising larger datasets made the offering applicable to not only law enforcement but to government agencies, military, and commercial clients as well. If you have a sporadic flow of data in formats that vary greatly, i2 is still one of the most compelling tools on the market.

i2 Acquisition – Harris Computer Corporation

Harris computer corporation, has acquired the i2 intelligence analysis product portfolio of IBM, including the i2 Analyst’s Notebook, i2 Enterprise Insight Analysis (EIA) and i2 iBase platforms. The acquisition sits nicely in Harris’ existing portfolio, delivering mission-critical applications for national defence, state & local law enforcement, maritime security as well as evidence management.

More about the acquisition can be found here

S-branch and i2

You may be aware that many of the team at S-branch are ex-i2 employees. We are delighted to see i2 settling into its new home. i2 will be allowed to run as a semi-independent entity again, rather than a side product of a cyber product line.

Workspaces
Workspaces

Harris’ i2 group will be headed up by an ex-i2 team who share our passion for the product. We believe i2 is in safe hands to progress forward, continuing to deliver powerful analysis technology to its customers. As always we are working with this team to assist with feedback and help shape the future of the product line.

More about how S-branch can assist you with i2 can be found here

What does this mean for S-branch clients?

No change, no worries. We will continue to deliver best in class consultancy on the i2 product suite. We will maintain our close relationship with the key members of the i2 development, sales and product management teams, allowing us to maintain our i2 knowledge and feedback into the product whenever we can.

If you have any questions, maybe you’re looking into i2 or looking into data analysis tools in general; please feel free to contact us.