Mobile Investigations

Everyone Has a Phone

Today nearly every digital forensic investigation deals with evidence from cell phones and tablets, and we refer to this branch of digital investigations as "mobile forensics". Fortunately there are a number of vendors providing software and hardware tools specifically targeting the needs of mobile forensics.


Mobile Investigation Workflow

Traditional computer forensics often starts with the imaging of the computer's storage devices: HDDs, SSDs, etc. The workflow for mobile investigations is often much more interactive, involving the selection and extraction of specific data. Software for mobile investigations also typically includes tools specifically geared towards the analysis and visualization of mobile data and artifacts, things like message threads and GPS/location data.

Software for Mobile Investigations

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Oxygen Forensics Detective

Oxygen Forensics

Mobile and cloud forensics
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Magnet Forensics

Computer and Cell Phone Forensics
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Digital Forensics Platform


Extract. Exploit. Examine.
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MD-Live ● MD-Next ● MD-Red


Mobile Forensics
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BlackLight ● Mobilyze
● Macquisition

BlackBag Technologies

Forensics for Mac & Windows
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Computer and cell phone forensics
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Cell Phone Forensics
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Capturing evidence from cell phones and tablets is one of the biggest hurdles in mobile forensics. Unlike a computer, it's often impractical to create a forensic image of the mobile device's internal storage. Instead, it's generally necessary to use a specialized tool like Detego's MD-LIVE to acquire data from the mobile device.


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Select & Extract

Mobile devices have "apps" (mobile applications) and each one can generate data and artifacts that may be relevant in an investigation. Tools like those from Detego and Oxygen Forensics give the investigator the ability to browse and understand data generated by a range of mobile applications.


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Analyze & Visualize

Mobile investigation software makes it easy to understand the nature of the data found on the mobile device, grouping data by source application and type (image, etc).


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Sometimes the mobile investigation is working from a backup image of the mobile device instead of data captured from the mobile device itself. Often these backups are encrypted, so decrypting them is an essential first step in the investigation. Tools like Oxygen Forensics Detective provide built-in support for decryption. In both cases the underlying decryption technology is provided by Passware, another leading forensics software vendor.

Oxygen encrypted backups

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