We all know that digital investigations challenges grow as technology continues to progress. Investigators must prioritize, collect, and decrypt evidence from a large number of devices while maintaining integrity. This process needs to be efficient, quick, repeatable, and defensible with the ability to generate intuitive reports.
Mobile forensic tools solve these challenges. There are specialized tools that help investigators retrieve deleted information, analyze, and preserve evidence that may arise during an examination of criminal activity. It’s not just investigators that use these programs either. The average person might find these tools useful for their own intents and forensic analysis purposes.
What Are Mobile Forensic Tools?
While a lot of forensic tools are used to gather lost data from laptops, since billions of people use their phones daily, there is a ton of data that can be gathered from mobile phones for forensic analysis. The complexity of mobile devices and their operating systems is continuously rising. When criminals use smartphones, law enforcement agencies, investigators, and attorneys require robust tools to perform evidence extraction.
Deleted content, complicated phone lock systems, encryption barriers, and similar complications to view phone data prevent a lot of digital evidence from coming to light. Examiners sometimes require encrypted information for investigation use.
Mobile forensic tools help unlock and perform full data extraction from a phone, whether it’s an Android or iPhone device. These mobile forensics tools provide access to the valuable information stored in a wide range of smartphones. You can acquire data such as call records, chats, text messages, documents, graphics, pictures, emails, app data, and much more from a suspect's device.
Down below, we cover the most trusted and reliable mobile forensic tools and software to conduct digital forensic investigations efficiently.
The Paraben E3:DS is an advanced mobile forensic solution for data extraction and forensic analysis. Its powerful and intuitive functions analyze mobile data cases with a straightforward interface that's easy to navigate. E3:DS processes a large variety of data types. There are multiple ways to add evidence to the tool for analysis. What's unique about this E3 is the auto-exam feature. With just a few clicks, this smart engine automates the processing and searching of evidence for the final report’s automatic generation. It supports both logical and physical extractions, lock bypassing, Cloud data, and Chip Dump extractions.
Another excellent function is the content analysis wizard. This gives examiners the option to index evidence into categories. In E3:DS, there are three primary search options. Keyword search uses an index unique to the case file, while the advanced search can be performed on un-index and live data. The third is a sorted file search that allows looking for items of a specific file type.
It has robust bookmarking capabilities to help organize the evidence better with bookmarks. Each final report option is unique, optimized, and designed to present the results of an investigation that's easy to review and understand. This advanced analysis system includes App data processing, data OCR, indexing, searching, data recovery, information on third party applications, and forensic image exploration. This single tool offers all that examiners require for mobile forensics.
Passware provides an all-in-one solution for password and data recovery. With their Passware Kit for Mobile software, you can extract all sorts of user data from an encrypted phone. It's routinely used by law enforcement, governments, and fortune 500 companies.
You can use it to decrypt data from phones that use Android or iPhone operating systems. You can even use it to get information from disabled devices. It works with a vast amount of different file types (300+). So if you're trying to retrieve things like your Bitcoin wallet, 1Password passwords, zip archives, or pdf files, it's suitable for just about any situation.
Professional forensic investigators can use it to detect the encryption methods they're dealing with and gather valuable data.
Belkasoft offers versatile forensics software to acquire all sorts of data from different devices that run on popular operating systems like iOS and Android.
With Belkasoft, you can gather data through different methodologies, including Agent-based acquisition and Checkm8. You can gather crucial knowledge from some of the most popular apps, including Instagram, Whatsapp, and a lot more. They also facilitate cloud forensics investigations which can be an excellent addition to your existing case. This means you can gather additional information like iCloud data, which can be quite essential.
Of course, an investigation doesn't end once the data is obtained. To make analyzing the data more manageable, Belkasoft provides an easy way to analyze the data. You can use it to decrypt many media and text, including chats, cryptocurrency wallets, documents, images, and geolocation.
The Cellebrite UFED Ultimate makes it easy to extract deleted information, examine, and gather evidence speedily and accurately. UFED Ultimate is a comprehensive digital data forensic solution for criminal investigations, environmental crimes, and enterprises to strengthen cases with trusted evidence.
It delivers Bypass encrypted devices that allow investigators to extract and forensically export data from almost all mobile devices, including Android and iOS and other mobile operating systems. With the intuitive interface, it’s designed for ease of use. UFED ultimately supports more than 31,000 mobile device profiles and unlock bypass patterns, PIN locks, and passwords. A lot of encryption challenges can be quickly overcome on device operating systems.
UFED performs full file system acquisition and logical extraction and physical extraction for deep data extraction, so investigators get most data. To recover deleted files and data, it uses recovery methods like Smart ADB, exclusive bootloaders, and EDL. Not only limited to mobile devices, but it also supports data extraction from drones, GPS devices, SIM, and memory cards.
It’s tricky to extract data from a password-locked iOS phone. As the name suggests, this Forensic Toolkit by Elcomsoft is for complete user data extraction and acquisition of all iOS devices such as iPhone, iPod, iPad, Apple Watch, and TV instantly. The toolkit performs both real-time physical and logical acquisition to recover more information from 64-bit phones with or without jailbreak. It also uses an additional cloud acquisition; experts collect more evidence than a single acquisition method alone.
It gives access to highly-sensitive data such as contacts, emails, call logs, location history, Wi-Fi usernames, websites, social networking accounts, instant messengers, and much more. Plus, it allows investigators to make a full copy of the device and analyze it in third-party software of their choice. If a phone was tapped and required a factory reset, it can recover some of the lost data.
Although it works in a forensically sound way, this toolkit doesn’t require any special training to use. Once the iPhone device connects, you can extract information, download location history, or access all pictures in the gallery to find clues. Furthermore, it can extract very crucial evidence like stored files on various apps without even a jailbreak.
Elcomsoft forensic toolkit proudly serves law enforcement customers, military, intelligence agencies, police, and governments worldwide.
AccessData's FTK combines power, technology, speed, fast searching, and stability. It's an advanced mobile forensic tool with a single standalone software. FTK allows access to investigators to extract and analyze mobile devices via e-discovery technology. FTK has indexes and data processes upfront that eliminate the need to wait to complete searches, duplicate files, and recreate. You can use the shared index file for fast searching and filtering.
No matter what amount of data it’s dealing with, this toolkit utilizes 100% of its hardware resources to find the relevant evidence quicker. FTK uses a one-shared case database that securely saves all data. This prevents several data sets' complexity and cost. Database-driven FTK supports teamwork without any interruption and prevents lost work during GUI crashes.
Maximum data extraction and recovery, the data processing via wizard makes sure all critical data is archived. With three engines, you can even distribute processing for faster evidence results. The data carving engine offers criteria specifications like data type, file size, pixel size, and more to trim down irreverent data.
Autopsy is another trusted and easy-to-use digital/mobile forensic platform used by corporate examiners, military staff, and law enforcement. Thanks to the intuitive interface, wizards direct each step after easy installation. Autopsy is a GUI-based program that efficiently evaluates smartphones and PC's hard drives. Android support allows investigators to extract data from contact, call log, SMS, Tango, chats with friends, and more. You can add third-party modules or create custom modules via Python and JAVA. Extensible module and reporting network lets you develop additional report types depending on what information an investigator wants to include.
This open-source forensic tool comes with plug-in architecture and a platform that lets you utilize included modules like timeline analysis, hash filtering, keyword search, data carving, and web artifacts.
Oxygen Forensic Detective is an advanced all-in-one forensic solution that can analyze, decode, and extract data from a wide variety of digital sources. The world leader in cloud data extraction with SecMail, iCloud, Google, Facebook, Whatsapp, Microsoft, Instagram, and Twitter. The Oxygen Forensic can extract data & file records from Android devices, iPhones, other mobile device models, and even flight history from drones. Credentials and user data can be collected from computers, while vital evidence is extracted from IoT devices, media cards, sd card, UICC, and wearables like smartwatches and fitness trackers. There are also industry-leading built-in analytical tools.
Oxygen Forensic lets investigators generate and export reports into various file formats that include XML, PDF, XLS, Relativity, RTF, etc. Distributed via a USB dongle, a single interface can investigate multiple extractions at once. You can search keywords, hast sets, and other criteria during backup import.
The latest Oxygen Forensic Detective version uses a brand new method of signal messenger data extraction from devices: Oxi agent. You can do a physical extraction and bypass a phone's screen lock with Qualcomm chipsets or more media-tech devices.
The OpenText EnCase Forensic is a powerful and one of the most trusted solutions for mobile forensics. The software is built with a deep understanding of the digital investigation lifecycle with six stages; triage, collect, decrypt, process, investigate, and report. Two built-in workflows include full investigation and preview triage. The former allows thorough examination, while the latter helps the examiner to add evidence quickly.
Used by tons of investigators globally each day to perform successful investigation; It’s a powerful forensic tool that you can count on, giving you the power to find the unknown in a file system. Since it’s essential to maintain evidence integrity, the evidence is stored in a court-accepted file format. The enhanced index engine offers powerful high processing speeds and optimized performance. EnCase offers Broad OS/decryption support to provide conclusive and detailed results with analysis findings. The professional yet easy-to-read reports can be created via customizable templates.
The EnCase software empowers the examiner to complete any investigation, even those involving mobile devices seamlessly. You can use it for the latest smartphones, tablets, GPS devices, smartwatches, and thousands of other profiles.
As investigators require fast results, background tasks are run parallel via multiple cores to provide results as soon as they are located. This cost-effective forensic solution is free. Autopsy also includes all core features of high-end digital forensics tools like EXIF, registry analysis, LNK, web artifact analysis, etc.