Phone Forensics

By Peter Piazza

Now that cell phones have morphed into miniature computers, they contain more information than ever before. In addition to phone numbers and a record of calls made and received, phones can now contain e-mail or text messages, photos, and a host of other data that could be of value when investigating a crime.

Just as conducting a forensic investigation of a computer requires a special set of skills, particularized skills are needed when investigating a cell phone, Pocket PC, RIM, or Palm OS device. An in-depth explanation of the challenges facing investigators, and an analysis of data pulled off many of these devices, is available from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in a paper called Cell Phone Forensic Tools: An Overview and Analysis.

Though the paper is aimed at investigators who already have some of the skills needed to do computer forensic investigations, it includes much information that will be of value to anyone who is interested in how cellular devices work and how they should be properly seized and analyzed. The report closes with a detailed glossary that explains common terms and acronyms related to cell phones.

@ The NIST report is available at SM Online.

nist_phone_forensic0306.pdf6.23 MB



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