In the aftermath of any tragedy, accident investigators tirelessly try to piece together exactly what happened. Mobile devices can often be the best sources of important data, and mobile forensics can be the key to revealing those missing, yet crucial pieces of the puzzle. To underestimate the critical role mobile forensics can play in accident investigations and some of the things data from mobile devices can reveal is almost a disservice to the truth.
The Quest for Answers in a Mobile Digital World
Mobile devices today can tell a lot of tales, but the burning question for accident investigators, obviously, is what happened? And of course, the logical place to start is with the subjects involved in the accident. Unfortunately, many times after a traumatic event, people can’t remember things very well, if at all, and some are physically incapable of answering questions due to their injuries, or worse. So without means to question the most important witness(es), investigators have to start flying theories using the information available to them. But if a mobile device is in the equation, it can make a big difference in helping to fill in the blanks.
Good to Know
Mobile devices can often reveal plenty of relevant information to investigators. Sometimes “big picture” things about an individual involved in an incident are important, like their habits, contacts, interests and sometimes even their state of mind, which can have light shed on them by analyzing texts, phone call records, pictures taken, Internet activity, and emails. Other times, more focused information is needed surrounding a particular event, like geolocation data often tracked by mobile devices and applications which can be used to build a timeline of when and where things happened. And then other times, mobile device data can help investigators not only pinpoint things that did happen, but cross off things that didn’t happen, like whether a driver was talking, texting, or being otherwise distracted by their smartphone. Because at the core of the investigative process, eliminating possibilities helps focus efforts and resources on other plausible scenarios.
Get it All, Then Sort it Out
Of the utmost importance is to make sure to collect all that data as quickly as possible from as many devices as are available before any valuable data is overwritten or otherwise lost. Because in the end, it’s far better to have the data and not need it, than to need it and not have it. That’s why we started offering a Mobile Forensics Core Analysis to make the process easy and affordable for investigators and attorneys who deal with accident investigations and/or litigation. For a low flat rate, our Core Analysis is designed to correctly collect all the data from mobile devices and help clients determine if a more thorough analysis is justified.
THE GDF CORE ANALYSIS PROCESS:
- 1. The subject device is received and logged.
- 2. A proper chain-of-custody log is created.
- 3. The subject device is forensically duplicated (imaged) using court accepted procedures.
- 4. The original evidence is properly stored in compliance with court approved procedures.
- 5. GDF’s certified analysts search the entire mobile device for all recoverable data, both live and deleted. If desired, you can also specify a date/time range to more narrowly focus the returns around a particular event.
- 6. All recoverable data is extracted and provided to the client in easy to understand format.
- 7. GDF’s assigned lead analyst forwards the results to the client.
- 8. The results will help identify the presence of any evidence or indicators to help client determine evidentiary value and decide if a more thorough analysis is warranted.
Once GDF has done the Core Analysis, all of the data will be preserved in the exact same state it was on the day we received it, and can then be used in multiple ways at any time afterwards. If the investigators or attorneys need to build a timeline, they’ll have the collected data available to do it. If they need to broaden their search scope after learning more about the case, we’ll be able to help with that too, using the data from the original collection. And if things get more complex, our vast experience and expertise in all things relating to digital evidence will let our specialists seamlessly transition to a more thorough analysis of any and all data if necessary, and assist with any further eDiscovery needs the client may have, all the way through production and expert witness testimony. It doesn’t get any easier or cost effective, so there should be no excuses when it comes to leveraging every benefit mobile forensics can offer, because when tragedy strikes, anything that can shed light on the who, what, when, where, why and how of a case can prove invaluable.
GDF is the Right Choice When Evidence Goes Digital
*Global Digital Forensics is a recognized leader in the fields of computer forensics, eDiscovery, cyber security and emergency incident response. To speak with a digital evidence specialist about your unique situation, or any other computer forensics, eDiscovery or cyber security needs involving Electronically Stored Information (ESI), call 1-800-868-8189, or fill out the form below and we’ll call you.