Book Image

Learning Android Forensics - Second Edition

By : Oleg Skulkin, Donnie Tindall, Rohit Tamma
Book Image

Learning Android Forensics - Second Edition

By: Oleg Skulkin, Donnie Tindall, Rohit Tamma

Overview of this book

Many forensic examiners rely on commercial, push-button tools to retrieve and analyze data, even though there is no tool that does either of these jobs perfectly. Learning Android Forensics will introduce you to the most up-to-date Android platform and its architecture, and provide a high-level overview of what Android forensics entails. You will understand how data is stored on Android devices and how to set up a digital forensic examination environment. As you make your way through the chapters, you will work through various physical and logical techniques to extract data from devices in order to obtain forensic evidence. You will also learn how to recover deleted data and forensically analyze application data with the help of various open source and commercial tools. In the concluding chapters, you will explore malware analysis so that you’ll be able to investigate cybersecurity incidents involving Android malware. By the end of this book, you will have a complete understanding of the Android forensic process, you will have explored open source and commercial forensic tools, and will have basic skills of Android malware identification and analysis.
Table of Contents (12 chapters)

Introducing Android Forensics

Mobile forensics is a branch of digital forensics that is evolving in today's digital era and is constantly changing as new phones are released and operating systems are updated. Android forensics deals with extracting, recovering, and analyzing data present on an Android device through various techniques. Due to the open nature of the Android operating system, these forensic techniques and methods can apply to more than just mobile phones: refrigerators, vehicle entertainment units, televisions, watches, and many more devices run Android.

It's important to have a clear understanding of the platform and other fundamentals before we dive in and find out how to extract data. In this chapter, we'll cover the following:

  • Mobile forensics
  • The mobile forensics approach
  • Challenges in mobile forensics
  • Android architecture
  • Android security
  • Android hardware components
  • Android boot process

The world today is experiencing technological innovation like never before, and this growth is almost exponential in the field of mobile devices. Gartner, a technology research and advisory firm, in their forecasts published in January 2018, estimated that mobile phone shipments in 2017 totaled 2.28 billion units and would increase to 2.32 billion in 2018. This statistic alone reflects the unprecedented growth of mobile devices. Mobile phones have not only increased in number but also have become more sophisticated in terms of functionality. The increase of mobile phone subscribers from 1997 to 2018 is significantly high.

You probably don't need to be told that smartphones are an increasingly large subset of mobile phones. The improvements in the computing power and data storage of these devices enable us to perform a wide range of activities, and we are increasingly becoming dependent on these mobile devices. Apart from performing routine tasks such as making calls and sending messages, and so on, these devices also support other activities such as sending emails, surfing the internet, recording videos, creating and storing documents, identifying locations with Global Positioning System (GPS) services, and managing business tasks. In other words, mobile devices are now repositories of sensitive personal information.

Quite often, the data sitting in a device is more valuable than the device itself. Imagine a case involving the smartphone of a suspected terrorist; how useful would it be for law enforcement to access every contact, call, SMS, or email that the suspect had sent or received? Or, perhaps even better, every location that the phone had been? While much of this data is generally available through the service provider, that often requires additional warrants or subpoenas and can take a significant amount of time. And consider third-party applications; WhatsApp chat content, for example, is end-to-end encrypted, and no amount of subpoenas to Facebook can recover that data. This book will show you how to recover data, such as WhatsApp chats, that may not be recoverable through any other method. The fact that mobile forensics played a crucial role in solving cases such as the 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt and Boston marathon bombings, reaffirms the increasing role of mobile forensics in solving many cases.