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A method and a case study for the selection of the best available tool for mobile device forensics using decision analysis
National University of Science and Technology, Pakistan.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
University of New Haven, USA.
2016 (English)In: Digital Investigation. The International Journal of Digital Forensics and Incident Response, ISSN 1742-2876, E-ISSN 1873-202X, Vol. 16, S55-S64 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The omnipresence of mobile devices (or small scale digital devices – SSDD) and more importantly the utility of their associated applications for our daily activities, which range from financial transactions to learning, and from entertainment to distributed social presence, create an abundance of digital evidence for each individual. Some of the evidence may be a result of illegal activities that need to be identified, understood and eventually prevented in the future. There are numerous tools for acquiring and analyzing digital evidence extracted from mobile devices. The diversity of SSDDs, types of evidence generated and the number of tools used to uncover them posit a rather complex and challenging problem of selecting the best available tool for the extraction and the subsequent analysis of the evidence gathered from a specific digital device. Failing to select the best tool may easily lead to incomplete and or improper extraction, which eventually may violate the integrity of the digital evidence and diminish its probative value. Moreover, the compromised evidence may result in erroneous analysis, incorrect interpretation, and wrong conclusions which may eventually compromise the right of a fair trial. Hence, a digital forensics investigator has to deal with the complex decision problem from the very start of the investigative process called preparatory phase. The problem could be addressed and possibly solved by using multi criteria decision analysis. The performance of the tool for extracting a specific type of digital evidence, and the relevance of that type of digital evidence to the investigative problem are the two central factors for selecting the best available tool, which we advocate in our work. In this paper we explain the method used and showcase a case study by evaluating two tools using two mobile devices to demonstrate the utility of our proposed approach. The results indicated that XRY (Alt1) dominates UFED (Alt2) for most of the cases after balancing the requirements for both performance and relevance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 16, S55-S64 p.
Keyword [en]
Digital forensics, Mobile device forensics, Mobile device forensics tools, Evaluation, Multi-criteria decision analysis, Digital evidence, Digital investigation, Expected utility, Total ranking, Hypothesis testing
National Category
Computer Science
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-116579DOI: 10.1016/j.diin.2016.01.008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-116579DiVA: diva2:806835
Available from: 2015-04-21 Created: 2015-04-21 Last updated: 2017-07-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Protecting the Integrity of Digital Evidence and Basic Human Rights During the Process of Digital Forensics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Protecting the Integrity of Digital Evidence and Basic Human Rights During the Process of Digital Forensics
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Scientific development and progress in the fields of computer science, information technology and their related disciplines, have transformed our world into a “digital world”. Omnipresent digital devices and e-services running on numerous versions of pervasive e-infrastructures generate a wealth of electronically stored information (ESI) from which we can extract a great deal of potential digital evidence.

Digital evidence is sometimes even more revealing than its traditional counterpart, but at the same time it is very fragile and volatile in nature. Preserving the integrity of digital evidence is therefore of major concern, especially when it comes from purportedly illegal, illicit and malicious activities. The acquisition and analysis of digital evidence are also crucial to the functioning of the digital world, regardless of the positive or negative implications of the actions and activities that generated the evidence. All stakeholders should have the right to be assured of the accuracy of the digital forensics process and the people involved in it. Currently they surrender these rights and have to trust the process and the individuals carrying it out. They do not have any guarantee that intentional or unintentional conduct or modification will not affect the outcome of the forensic process, which might compromise their other human rights as a consequence, such as their right to liberty and even their right to life. Protecting basic human rights by ensuring the correctness of the entire forensics process, and its output in the form of digital evidence, is thus a point of concern. The “right to a fair trial” given in Article 6 of the European Convention as an umbrella principle that affects the forensics process, is one example of the protection of basic human rights.

In digital forensics there are principles and models on the top (theoretical basis), acting as a platform on abstract and generic level, in the middle, there are policies and practices and at the bottom, there are technical procedures and techniques. During this research we worked to solve the above mentioned problems, concentrating on all three layers, by extending the abstract models, defining best practice, and by providing new technical procedures employing latest technology. Our work also helps to implement organisational policies.

The research was undertaken in two cycles, starting with an exploration of the theoretical basis and continuing to procedures and techniques. The methods used to preserve the integrity of digital evidence were explored and evaluated in the first cycle. A new technical model called PIDESC[1] was thus proposed. This can preserve the integrity of digital evidence by orchestrating both software- and hardware-based security solutions. The model was evaluated in terms of time and cost. The results suggest that the gains outweigh the additional cost and time. The increase in time is a constant negligible factor of only half a millisecond on average. In the next cycle we built on our knowledge and extended the theoretical basis on an abstract and generic level to preserve the integrity of digital evidence and to protect basic human rights as overarching umbrella principles (2PasU[2]). We then developed specific solutions, including a formal method to select the best mobile device forensics tool, and developed a guide for best practices to fulfil the requirements of preservation and protection. Finally, we mapped the solutions to the proposed extended model with 2PasU, putting all the research into its context in order to pave the way for future work in this domain.

[1] Protecting Digital Evidence Integrity by Using Smart Cards

[2] Preservation and Protection as Umbrella Principles

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University, 2015. 116 p.
Series
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 15-010
National Category
Computer Science
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-116581 (URN)978-91-7649-180-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-06-05, L50, NOD-huset, Borgarfjordsgatan 12, Kissta, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 6: Submitted.

Available from: 2015-05-14 Created: 2015-04-22 Last updated: 2015-05-19Bibliographically approved

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