Book Image

Mastering Mobile Forensics

By : Soufiane Tahiri
Book Image

Mastering Mobile Forensics

By: Soufiane Tahiri

Overview of this book

Mobile forensics presents a real challenge to the forensic community due to the fast and unstoppable changes in technology. This book aims to provide the forensic community an in-depth insight into mobile forensic techniques when it comes to deal with recent smartphones operating systems Starting with a brief overview of forensic strategies and investigation procedures, you will understand the concepts of file carving, GPS analysis, and string analyzing. You will also see the difference between encryption, encoding, and hashing methods and get to grips with the fundamentals of reverse code engineering. Next, the book will walk you through the iOS, Android and Windows Phone architectures and filesystem, followed by showing you various forensic approaches and data gathering techniques. You will also explore advanced forensic techniques and find out how to deal with third-applications using case studies. The book will help you master data acquisition on Windows Phone 8. By the end of this book, you will be acquainted with best practices and the different models used in mobile forensics.
Table of Contents (14 chapters)
Mastering Mobile Forensics
About the Author
About the Reviewer
Preparing a Mobile Forensic Workstation


It's not a secret that mobile devices have evolved dramatically from being those fateful boxes to extremely advanced brains; their names have also changed from phones to smartphones.

Mobile devices are getting as powerful as personal computers and they can do almost any task that we might need on a daily basis, such as taking and sharing photos and videos, sending and receiving e-mails, checking your bank balance and making bank transactions, social networking, managing tasks and reminders, and so on. Any mobile phone is a huge repository of sensitive data related to its owner and given the pace at which mobile development is progressing, there is no doubt that the need for forensic examination of these devices is on the rise too.

Mobile forensics is a set of scientific methodologies with the goal of extracting digital evidence in a legal context. Extracting digital evidence means recovering, gathering, and analyzing data stored within the internal memory of a mobile phone. Mobile forensics is a continuously evolving science, which involves permanently evolving techniques and presents a real challenge to the forensic community and law enforcement due to the fast and unstoppable changes in technology.

There are a huge number of mobile device models that are in use today and new models are manufactured every five months, and most of them use closed operating systems, thus making the forensic process much more difficult. This book gives the forensic community an in-depth look at mobile forensic techniques by detailing methods of gathering evidence from mobile devices running on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.

What this book covers

Chapter 1, Mobile Forensics and the Investigation Process Model, talks about the importance of smartphone forensics in our continually growing digital world. We will then describe smartphone forensic models and how they have evolved with time. We will also point out challenges that today's investigators face in the smartphone forensics evidence acquisition process.

Chapter 2, Do It Yourself – Low-Level Techniques, covers the techniques used to carve files and to manually extract GPS data, and explains how things are in there at a low level. This chapter will also cover some techniques that extract strings from different objects (for example, smartphone images) and it will also describe the basics of reverse engineering smartphone applications.

Chapter 3, iDevices from a Forensic Point of View, provides an overview of the forensic approach of an iOS device. We will introduce iOS architecture components and filesystems. This chapter will indicate the methodologies, techniques, and tools used to acquire evidence from iOS devices. It will also point out the difference between different modes (DFU and recovery), introduce the jailbreaking concept, and discuss the biometric aspect of iOS devices.

Chapter 4, Android Forensics, brings to light some important points about Android OS internals, filesystem, data structures, and security models. It will also discuss how it is possible to logically and physically acquire an Android device. We will also take a look at the JTAG and chip-off techniques; this chapter will also explain how to bypass lock screens, security, and encryption. In this chapter, we will discuss a real case of forensic analysis of a third-party application.

Chapter 5, Windows Phone 8 Forensics, introduces Windows Phone 8. In the first part of this chapter we will see the main difference between WP7 and WP8 and then, in the upcoming section, we will go through Windows 8 internals and describe WP8 security models and their implementation. This chapter also describes the WP filesystem, and then we will go through the steps to logically acquire a Windows Phone 8 device; we will also describe WP PINs and hardware encryption. Finally, we will cover evidence location in the Windows Phone registry and analyze Windows Phone PINs.

Chapter 6, Mobile Forensics – Best Practices, will go beyond the technical aspects of smartphone device forensics and introduce you to some of the best practices of recovering digital evidence from a mobile device under forensically sound conditions. This chapter will describe the methodology of the forensic process used for mobile devices and will present guidelines for specific activities in the handling of digital evidence.

Appendix, Preparing a Mobile Forensic Workstation, will show you how to prepare a mobile forensics workstation based on Santoku Linux.

What you need for this book

This book is designed to help the reader use different operating systems (Windows and Linux) and also covers various forensic approaches and techniques on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone through freeware, open source, and commercial software. The content is organized to let any reader perform a forensic investigation on most popular smartphone operating systems. Most topics are introduced from basic or intermediate level to in-depth. Across the chapters, the reader is always linked to the software used and, if needed, to the webpages that have more details about a given topic. This book is not in any way meant to be a form of advertising for the commercial tools used.

Who this book is for

This book is for mobile forensics professionals who have experience of handling forensics tools and methods. This book is designed for skilled digital forensic examiners, mobile forensic investigators, and law enforcement officers.


In this book, you will find a number of text styles that distinguish between different kinds of information. Here are some examples of these styles and an explanation of their meaning.

Code words in text, database table names, folder names, filenames, file extensions, pathnames, dummy URLs, user input, and Twitter handles are shown as follows: "The res directory is the directory used to store application resources."

A block of code is set as follows:

for i = 1 to Nr-1 stepsize 1 do
end for

Any command-line input or output is written as follows:

adb shell pm path com.facebook.lite

New terms and important words are shown in bold. Words that you see on the screen, for example, in menus or dialog boxes, appear in the text like this: "After opening the software, click on Open File."


Warnings or important notes appear in a box like this.


Tips and tricks appear like this.

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