Acquisition and analysis of data from smartphones and tablets

The acquisition and analysis of data from smartphones and tablets, commonly referred to as mobile device forensics, is a critical process in various fields such as law enforcement, cybersecurity, and corporate investigations. Here's an overview of the steps involved:

  1. Acquisition:

    a. Physical Acquisition: Involves creating a bit-by-bit copy of the device's storage, including the operating system, applications, and user data. This method often requires specialized equipment and can be more complex, but it provides the most comprehensive data capture.

    b. Logical Acquisition: This method involves extracting data through the device's operating system, typically via USB connection or wireless communication. It captures data that is accessible without directly accessing the device's physical storage, such as files, system logs, and metadata.

    c. File System Acquisition: Involves extracting files and directories from the device's file system. It provides access to user-generated content, application data, and system files. This method may require root or administrator privileges on the device.

    d. Cloud Acquisition: Involves obtaining data stored in the cloud associated with the device, such as backups, synced files, and app data stored in cloud services like iCloud (for iOS devices) or Google Drive (for Android devices).

  2. Analysis:

    a. Data Extraction: Extracting data from the acquired image or device dump, including contacts, call logs, text messages, emails, photos, videos, browsing history, social media activity, GPS location data, and app data.

    b. Data Decoding and Interpretation: Converting raw data into a human-readable format and interpreting its significance. This involves decoding encrypted data, parsing different file formats, and correlating information to reconstruct events and timelines.

    c. Timeline Analysis: Organizing extracted data chronologically to reconstruct the sequence of events, such as calls, messages, app usage, and location history. Timeline analysis helps identify patterns, relationships, and anomalies in the data.

    d. Keyword Search and Filtering: Searching for specific keywords, phrases, or patterns within the acquired data to identify relevant information related to the investigation. Filtering allows analysts to focus on specific types of data or narrow down the scope of analysis.

    e. Link Analysis: Identifying and visualizing connections between different entities in the data, such as contacts, phone numbers, email addresses, locations, and communication channels. Link analysis helps uncover relationships and networks relevant to the investigation.

    f. Reporting: Documenting findings in a comprehensive report suitable for legal proceedings. The report should include details of the acquisition process, analysis methodology, identified evidence, interpretations, and conclusions drawn from the evidence.

    g. Validation and Peer Review: Ensuring the accuracy, integrity, and reliability of the analysis results through validation by multiple analysts and peer review processes.

Mobile device forensics requires specialized tools, techniques, and expertise to handle the complexities of modern smartphone and tablet technologies, including encryption, cloud integration, and diverse operating systems. Adhering to forensic best practices and legal requirements is essential to ensure the admissibility and reliability of the evidence in court proceedings.

Indian Cyber Securiry

Research Papers

Case Study

Cyber Police