Author: Neil McLean
Technological advancements in the last 20 years have allowed for a digital revolution in mobile device technology that has impacted society on a global scale. This new technological landscape has provided the opportunity for rapid innovation in the ways we create, share, and store information. Although countless benefits are realized from these innovations, the challenge to organize this information for the purposes of discovery has never been greater.
To tackle this challenge, Complete Legal has partnered with Cellebrite, a digital intelligence company that, among other things, is the industry leader in the development of technologies to access and decode information from mobile devices. The FBI, CIA, and even your local law enforcement agencies all look to Cellebrite to provide them the technology they need to access cell phones, tablets, and even drones!
Beyond offering Cellebrite’s technology to our clients, our we are certified as Cellebrite Certified Physical Analyst’s (CCPA). We have been extensively trained on advanced mobile analysis, so we can help you gather every piece of ESI and testify with confidence.
Cellebrite is constantly at work developing their suite of products to not only keep up with new device releases, but also to maximize the capability to access legacy devices of years past. Their mobile collection and forensic applications are supported by monthly updates that at this point allow us to extract data from over 10,000 unique mobile devices.
Let’s take a look at a few of the mobile collections questions we hear most often:
What data can be extracted from a mobile device?
Much like other topics surrounding digital collections and forensics, the answer to this question can vary greatly depending on circumstance. The device model, software update version, and configuration can all affect what data can be accessed and extracted. That being said, a few categories of data most commonly available and requested by our clients are:
- Call Logs
- Text Messages
- Instant Messages (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- Pictures & Videos
- Location History
- Web Browser History
- WiFi Connection Logs
- Calendar Items
How long does it take to extract data from a cell phone?
The time required is often dependent on the device and what information needs to be collected and preserved, but for the most common cases we see we can have data extracted and your client’s device back in your possession in a matter of a few hours or less.
I don’t have a password to unlock the phone, can you still gain access?
Yes! Many of the methods for data extraction include workflow’s to either bypass or disable the lock screen password. Some devices such as new iPhones and Samsungs aren’t able to be unlocked locally, but we can send the device to Cellebrite’s headquarters to have the passwords disabled. Although shipping the device off for that service can be expensive, some cases warrant the expense to obtain key materials stored on a device.
My client isn’t comfortable with you collecting some of their information, can you control what you collect?
The answer is yes and no. If the materials that you need have already been identified and are finite, text messages, for example, then yes, we can selectively extract just that data. However, if an investigative approach is necessary and you aren’t quite sure what you are going to find, I would recommend against limiting the data that is preserved. We are happy to work with you to either execute formal Non-Disclosure and/or Confidentiality Agreements to help ease any reservations.
Contact us for a free Cellebrite consultation.
We’re here to make discovery easier on you. We welcome the opportunity to talk to you about how we can help collect, exchange, and process the data in your case. Contact Neil to learn more.