The 6 main reasons cell phone forensics fails
In today’s litigious society cell phones are often the holy grail of evidence collection. With people using phones like they use their laptops, emails, SMS messages, pictures, videos, and social media listings provide a plethora of data for the cell phone forensics analyst.
Often there are factors associated with the cell phone itself that make a forensic investigation difficult or in some cases require extreme measures to get the cell phone to a state where it can be forensically examined.
Eagle has the resources and personnel to tackle all the issues listed here and many not listed here. Feel free to contact us for a free consultation and we can discuss any specific cell phone issue you may have.
Here’s a list of some of the main reasons a cellphone forensics investigation might be hampered:
1. Physical Cell Phone Damage
Is your cell phone’s screen scratched or cracked? Dropping, stepping on, or even running over a phone with a vehicle are the most common causes of broken screens. And in our investigation of cellphone data and cellphone forensics, we’ve even had to recover a phone from a river!
Smartphone screens are fabricated from glass designed to stand up to minimal levels of abuse. But there’s a limit to the abuse they can withstand. Any decent impact can still break the touch screen in many instances, and may even cause damage invisible to the naked eye. This will impede and cell phone forensics investigation as it limits access to the phone in many cases.
2. Dirty Charging Port
Cell phone charging ports can easily get clogged with dust, dirt, and lint. Phones are put in pockets with money, tissues, and keys. All these create dust and dirt which can become lodged in the cell phone charging port. Over time this gunk and dirt can build up and prevent a cell phone from being charged and may prevent a thorough cell phone forensics investigation.
Do you experience issues when trying to charge your cell phone? It might need a new charging port. Damaged or dirty cell phone charger ports can result in serious inconvenience when conducting a forensic cell phone investigation. If the phone won’t accept a charge or Your phone will be useless if its power is drained and it won’t take a charge.
If the cell phone can’t be charged properly then it may be very difficult to extract evidence from it to support a court case. If the charging port is dirty then it can be very difficult to extract data from the phone when conducting a cell phone forensics investigation.
3. Non-Working Buttons
If the buttons don’t work properly or are sticking on a cell phone it may need professional cleaning. It may also need a button replacement in order to conduct a forensic cell phone investigation.
Often, the “home” button gets stuck from frequent use making regular phone use an annoyance and seriously impeding a cell phone forensics examination. Other buttons can cause problems such as a broken side switch for turning off the ringtone or nonworking volume control. Many times when conducting a forensic cell phone examination these buttons are used to interact with the phone.
4. Water damage
If water has entered a cell phone this can corrode internal components over time. Water needs to be removed quickly and properly using a proper process.
Home remedies like covering a wet cell phone in rice can only remove the surface moisture. Dropping a phone in a toilet, sink, or bathtub is a very common accident. Many times when we receive phones for forensic cell phone examination these are the reasons the phone is inoperable.
Most times this water damage to a cell phone is accidental but many times the damage is caused by malicious action on the part of one party to a lawsuit.
6. Battery Malfunction
Just as the charging port can cause issues phone batteries that do not charge properly are also among the top reasons for causing issues with a forensic examination of a cell phone.
Some batteries may hold a charge but die out quickly, which could be an indicator of other functionality problems. The cause may be a manufacturing defect in the battery, and sometimes a replacement battery solves the issue.
When choosing someone to extract data from a cell phone for evidentiary purposes it’s important to choose someone with the experience and references to handle any situation that arises. Forensic cell phone analysis is one the most in-demand services we deal with.
With the world almost fully dependent on their cell phone, this situation is unlikely to change in the near future.