I don’t know how that got on my phone?

As a digital forensic analyst I have heard it all. “I didn’t visit that site, it must have been a virus” or “that photo wasn’t taken on my phone”. These once-viable explanations can be disproven in a matter of minutes thanks to mobile forensics, a process that seeks to uncover the truth and create a timeline of events.

In March 2016, three months after the deadly San Bernardino shooting, it was reported the FBI had sought Apple’s assistance with gaining access to an iPhone belonging to one of the shooters. Apple’s argument for not helping was simple – they felt developing such a workaround would compromise the security of iPhone’s for all of its users. The FBI made a case that it was a matter of national security and the battle seemed headed for the courts.

In a turn of events, the FBI announced it no longer required Apple’s ‘assistance’ as it had been working with a third-party (rumoured to be Israeli firm Cellebrite) to bypass the iPhone’s security… and was successful.

The following statistics show just how mobile-dependant users have become in today’s society.

  •  As of August 2017, there are over 3.5 billion unique mobile internet users. Source: Statista
  •  Users spend on average 69% of their media time on smartphones. Source: comScore
  •  Mobile devices will drive 80% of global internet usage. Source: Zenith
  •  50% of the time individuals spend on digital media is on mobile apps. Source: ComScore

With the rapid growth and advancements in mobile technology, the relevance of digital evidence will continue to increase.

Welcome to the world of mobile forensics.