X-act Forensics recently recovered some vital text messages from a mobile phone that a client thought they had deleted. As Managing Director Toby Andrews explains, every mobile phone model is different regarding the outcome of recovering deleted messages. “It does depend on the make and model of the mobile phone as to what can be recovered. In a lot of cases we have managed to recover deleted texts as well as pictures and audio recordings. Unlike computers which usually run on either a windows based operating system or Mac OS, mobile phones generally run on a wider variety of software platforms and therefore produce different results. The best way to truely determine what is recoverable from each handset is to examine the device(s) under mobile phone forensic analysis.”
Whenever a mobile phone is on it scans radio frequencies assigned to it by the network provider and finds the best cell site to link to. A “cell site” is a transmitting and receiving station that allows for what most of us commonly refer to as “mobile phone coverage”. You can often see these cell sites as you are driving down the motorway positioned just to left or right of the road.
As a person travels from A to B, his or her mobile phone will scan for the best coverage. The network provider records these specific “handovers” every time a chargeable call or text message is made. This information is then recorded in the form of historic call data records or CDR’s. Utilising these call data records and maps provided by the network operator, it is possible to build up a geographical picture of where a user might have been. This allows for a cell site analysis investigation.
We have received some interesting conditions of exhibits over the last year.
One example was a water drenched mobile phone. At first glance it looked unlikely, (to say the least) that we would be able to power on the handset, let alone perform a forensic examination of it. However persistent as we are the phone was duly taken out of its royal mail delivery bag (which resembled a soggy chip wrapper). After much technical deliberation the phone was secured in the laboratory next to a radiator. Twelve hours later the phone sprang to life and impressively the client got the text messages he was looking for!
Welcome to our brand new digital forensics news page! We hope to share interesting posts on computer forensics, cell site analysis, mobile phone forensics, cctv enhancement and anything fun or interesting in the world of digital forensics….