Mobile Phone Forensics

Mobile Phone Forensic Analysis

Mobile Phone Expert Witness Services

 

Almost everyone owns a mobile phone these days. In 2019, it is expected that 4.7 billion out of the projected 7.7-billion worldwide population would own a mobile phone handset. In the United Kingdom, 9 out of 10 British adults already own one. These details illustrate how indispensable mobile phones have become in this day and age.

 

Mobile phones are not only useful for communicating with other people or getting the latest information such as news and updates on social media platforms. Its use goes beyond entertainment in the form of video and music streaming as well as online games. Mobile phones are also important in law enforcement, and the criminal justice system as these devices can provide unique, factual information that can help in solving crimes.

Mobile phone forensic analysis, defined as a form of digital data gathering for the purposes of presenting legal evidence, is very important for investigators today. It gives them a reliable and accurate way of collecting criminal evidence from digital footprint or information left on digital devices like mobile phones. Mobile phone forensics investigators mainly work on extracting deleted mobile phone files and data for gathering criminal evidence.

Different Types of Mobile Phone Forensic Acquisition Methods

Mobile phone forensic extraction is a process that can be broken down into different categories. First, the mobile phone is seized then materials such as memory cards are retrieved to acquire data. Third, the acquired data are examined and analysed.

Data acquisition and examination can also be categorised into various types such as:

Manual acquisition.

The investigator examines a mobile device and investigates its contents by utilising the user interface. In this stage, the phone is working or operational with the investigator taking photos or notes of the phone’s contents.

Logical acquisition.

In this stage, the investigator looks into the directories and files residing on the storage of the mobile device. Typically, the examiner uses application programming to extract and organise information derived from the device.

File system acquisition.

Investigators use specialised tools and processes to recover deleted information on a mobile phone. Android and iOS phones, in particular, have a database file of deleted information that can be retrieved and made available for later overwriting.

 

Physical acquisition.

This implies duplication of the entire physical storage such as memory card or flash memory.

 

Advanced PIN Decryption (iOS & Android) / Bruteforce acquisition.

As the name suggests, this is a type of data acquisition wherein brute force is used to unlock a mobile phone. The forensic examiner usually relies on a trial and error method wherein passcodes are sent to the mobile device in an attempt to get the right password. Once the password is cracked, then the mobile device can be further examined for forensic investigation.

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Types of Data Collected from Mobile Devices for Forensic Analysis

For many people, mobile phones are indispensable in their daily lives. And it is easy to understand why given the many uses of this type of electronic device. From making phone calls to sending text messages to receiving emails and posting to social media sites, mobile phones have more uses than the typical Swiss knife.

Smartphones have also made the desktop PC dispensable for some people. After all, a person doesn’t have to open a PC to search for something on Google. They can do that on their smartphones. Moreover, smartphones can help them find their way using apps like Waze. These are scenarios that illustrate how important these mobile devices are for people, and how powerful or reliable these are as sources for evidence for the authorities.

Given that mobile phones have become the primary source of information and entertainment for many people, it is understandable that these electronic devices can yield a wealth of information such as:

 

Call detail records. The service providers usually rely on call detail records in improving their network performance. But for investigators, call detail records can yield useful information such as the time a particular call started and ended. It can also reveal who made the call and who was called, as well as the call time duration and whether the call was incoming or outgoing.

Global Positioning System Data. This is considered one of the best sources of empirical evidence. With GPS, a suspect can be identified particularly his location during the time the criminal act was committed. GPS can also locate and reveal the movements of the suspect from the time the crime was committed to the time he went to a hideout. GPS can also be useful in finding call logs, SMS messages and images.

Text messages. Through SMS, electronic records of conversations can be presented in court as evidence. Some relevant information that may come from text messages includes phone numbers of the sender and receiver and the date and time of the messages.

WiFi history. This can also help in establishing the location of the suspect during the time that the crime was committed.

Social media history. Records of social media interactions such as instant messenger conversations can help in establishing the motive of the suspect in a criminal case.

 

In short, mobile phones can reveal a lot of information that may be presented as evidence in court.

Binary Forensics- Digital Forensic Expert Witness Services

Given the importance of mobile phone forensic evidence in the pursuit of justice as well as the complexity of retrieving, gathering, and analysing valuable information from mobile phones, it pays to partner with a reputable digital forensics firm.

Binary Forensics – The Digital Forensic Experts is one of the top digital forensics experts in the UK, providing digital forensic expert witness services. It specialises in extracting and recovering lost files from mobile phones and even tablets and other digital devices.

The company can also add another dimension to an investigation with its services such as digital evidence data gathering, critical examination or even second opinion on presented digital evidence. Manned by experts in digital forensics, the company can help you in uncovering potential sources of evidence that can pin down a suspect in a criminal case.

Identifiable information for this Testimonial has been redacted.

“That is a great result and the injured parties in this case are very pleased. Once again ******* many thanks for the crucial work you carried out on breaking into the phone for us and the clear evidence you provided at *********** Crown Court during the trial. “

UK Police Force

Detective Constable (DC), Digital Forensics

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