Mobile devices are one of the accelerating technological phenomena among the Internet of Things, Cloud Computing as well as Big Data. The wide use of mobile technology is one of the primary catalysts for the trends mentioned above that have made life easier for billions around the globe.
Additionally, mobile devices can also be used in the field of digital forensics; these handheld machines have the capacity to process vast volumes of data with every passing second, which can be extracted to support an investigation. Since mobiles and smartphones are a digital extension of the users, these devices facilitate digital forensic investigators to harvest a lot of data that would otherwise be lost.
Information that can be found on mobile gadgets:
- Call history: Incoming, outgoing, missed calls
- Phonebook directory or contact details
- SMS texts
- Application notifications and third party messenger content
- Images, videos, or audio
- Voicemail messages and recordings
- Search browsing history, favorite content, site cookies, analytics data, and account details.
- checklists, notes, calendar events, reminders, and entries
- Documents, presentations, spreadsheets and drive data
- Passwords, swipe codes, passcodes, and other account credentials
- Archived geo locations, cell phone data and tower details, wifi provider, and devices management
- Personal dictionary data
- App installation data
- System logs and files
- Error messages, bug and crash reports
- Erased and deleted data from the aforementioned
How is Mobile Forensic Investigation Conducted?
Crimes are not exclusive of their technological bent; hence, mobile device forensics has become an irreplaceable aspect of digital forensic investigations.
Most laypeople do not understand the intricacy of mobile forensics as a process. It may boil down to the use of a specific mobile device forensics tool, but the process is lengthier than one may think. In reality, as the number of mobile devices being used continues to grow for both personal and professional environments, the amount of data flowing to and through them will continue to increase at an accelerated rate. Statistically, about 33,500 reams of paper would be needed to print 64 gigabytes worth of data.
The primary storage ability of all phones is commonly 64 GB today, some spanning to 128 GB and higher; one can imagine with this growing capacity the amount of data that a handheld device can store, especially when there is a crime in question! The process of mobile forensics intends to unearth digital evidence, digital trails, or valuable information from a gadget to use as evidence by preserving it safely. To get the job done, the mobile forensic investigator creates a specific system to seize, isolate, transport, and store the recovered data for analysis and present it as digital evidence safely.
Among the officials assigned with the duty to retrieve such information are Incident Responders, Forensic Examiners, and Corporate Investigators. While an ongoing inquiry regarding a crime that involved the use of mobile technology, the officials in charge of the mobile forensic investigation are supposed to follow the guidelines prescribed and gather every bit of data that would help, such as device passcodes and passwords PIN codes, or pattern locks.
Generally, the process of conducting mobile forensics is common to the other departments of digital forensics. However, it is to be noted that mobile forensics is an independent process that requires several intricacies to be successful. By using the correct techniques and best practices, the expert investigator will be able to find valuable data from the said devices.