Unlocking the evidentiary potential of mobile devices

As smartphones have become more and more deeply ingrained in daily life, so too have they become more critical to investigations.  

These outwardly innocuous devices hold a wealth of potentially revealing and discoverable information, including call histories, contact lists, text messages, chat conversations, multimedia messages, photos, videos, recordings, calendar items, reminders, notes, data files, GPS logs, app-specific information and even deleted data. 

The full extent of smartphones’ value in investigations isn’t just data they store directly, however. They also offer an extraordinary opportunity to gain access to other Cloud apps and services using stored usernames and passwords.  

Common examples include social media apps like Facebook, Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn and Twitter; cloud-based email like Gmail and Outlook; and file-storage services like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive. The amount of data stored in these Cloud services is often staggering – a veritable treasure trove of potential evidence that could prove pivotal to an investigation. 

Smartphones aren’t the only mobile devices with evidentiary potential, however. Wearable devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers can add even more colour and context to the investigative picture. Insights into a subject’s activities, routes of movement, heart rate and stress monitoring (not to mention stored geotagged photos, voice recordings, files, application data and notes) could be just what you need to unlock a case. 

But how, exactly, do you unlock these mobile devices to begin with? 

At Salient, our go-to product for the forensic collection and analysis of smartphone and smartwatch data in support of investigations is MOBILedit. We’ve found it to be a particularly intuitive and cost-effective solution for navigating security challenges and extracting data from a range of mobile and wearable devices.  

It also achieved excellent results in tests by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US. 

Behind its deceptively simple user interface, MOBILedit offers powerful forensic acquisition capabilities, supported by sophisticated functionality and excellent performance. Importantly, MOBILedit is also compatible with other industry formats, including Cellebrite case (UFD) and report (UFDR) files, and Oxygen backup (XML) files. 

This makes it an effective, efficient, and potent addition to any forensic collection and analysis arsenal for investigations where mobile devices are an important data source. 

Forensic collection and analysis of mobile device data forms an important part of Salient’s holistic Forensic Data Analytics offering. To find out more about our ability to provide rapid clarity using appropriate and defensible tools and processes – selected and customised for your environment – get in touch.