Access Evidence From 95%+ Of Android Devices Fast

Cellebrite’s ground-breaking technology and new physical extraction solution, Advanced ADB, extends evidence access from thousands of Android devices.

Cellebrite has done it again. On March 15, 2017, Cellebrite was the first in the industry to provide a unique physical extraction solution, Advanced ADB, as part of its UFED 6.1 release, for thousands of Android devices. To be more specific, Cellebrite’s new Advanced ADB method supports more than 95% of the Android devices in the market running any version from 4.3-7.1. Yes 95%! Generally, this capability works on unlocked devices with a security patch level up to November 2016. But, due to the widely fragmented variety of Android devices, a few exceptions may apply.

Several Android devices that this unique physical extraction method supports are:
Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy Note 4, LG G4, LG G5, LG Nexus 5X, LG V20, Sony Xperia Z5, Xiaomi Redmi 3S, Huawei Nexus 6P, HTC Desire 825 and more!

So what does this mean for you? Well, if and when you encounter an Android device in any of your investigations, rest assured that it is more than likely to be supported by Cellebrite’s Advanced ADB physical extraction method.  Doesn’t that solve a lot of problems, worries, backlog?

Here’s how it works:

The Advanced ADB method can be accessed in one of two ways from UFED 6.1:

  1. Via the mobile device – Mobile device -> Browse manually -> Search for Smart Phones -> Android -> Physical Extraction -> Advanced ADB.
  1. From within the specific device profile – Physical Extraction -> Advanced ADB.

And if the device supports a SD card, it’s pretty straight forward.

The extraction can also be performed directly from the phone to any USB storage device, when the device does not have a SD card. To do this, you will need extraction cables OTG 501 and 508. View the UFED 6.1 release notes to understand how you can receive the cables.

Check out the video below to see a step by step tutorial on how to perform the Advanced ADB physical extraction method.

To get Cellebrite UFED 6.1 with Advanced ADB, visit our landing page to learn more.

Solve more cases with access to more applications using unique engines

Applications contain key pieces of information that can provide great insights to an investigation. Most of the databases stored on mobile devices (iOS & Android) are SQLite databases. SQLite is a powerful and relatively simple way to store data. When extracting all SQLite databases from a mobile device, you will note that most of the databases are decoded by UFED Physical Analyzer, (which provides support for more than 200 unique apps and 3,000 app versions). However, there are still some databases that are unfamiliar or are not supported. With 2.4 million apps* available on the market today, there isn’t a single mobile forensics tool that can support all these third-party applications.

Cellebrite’s SQLIte wizard

With the release of UFED Physical Analyzer 6.0, we announced a new capability that enables you to access even more data from apps, including unsupported apps. In short, you can access any information stored on mobile devices, reduce time to evidence and close more cases with the new UFED PA.

As an examiner or an investigator, one of your challenges is to get as much information possible out of a mobile device. In many cases, the potential evidence may reside inside a third-party app that’s installed on the device. When this app is not supported by any mobile forensic solution, the alternative is to manually analyze and investigate the content of the app’s database.

With the new and unique SQLite wizard, you can visually map additional data from different databases, build queries and map database fields to supported models, (such as call logs, instant messages and other generic events).

I’ll take you through a step-by-step tutorial on how to recover data from a database using this tool.

SQLite wizard flow

 

 

 

If you know that a specific application was used on the device, but it was not automatically parsed during the decoding process, you can look into the database’s content and extract the data.

The database in the project tree (under data files), includes a list of all the databases available, with an indication that specifies if it was decoded by Cellebrite. We suggest that you filter out all the decoded databases, and focus on manually decoding the non-decoded databases that you feel may be important for the investigation.

Alternatively, you also have the option to manually decode a database that was already decoded. And why? There are new developments for applications all the time- for example, WhatsApp recently added video chat, and while Cellebrite is on the task to provide support for this new feature in upcoming releases, you may require this specific record immediately, so manually decoding the database will provide you with instant access to potential evidence.

Untitled-1

Let’s assume that you want to extract data from the mmssms.db (database on an Android device), which you suspect may contain critical evidence. First, start the manual decoding process by selecting this database. Within the database viewer pane above, you can see that the selected database has a total number of 362 records, so plenty of information there.

To get started, open the SQLite wizard:

SQLite wizard_home

The SQLite wizard allows you to include deleted data. Selecting this option increases the chances of false positive records, and in many cases, the interesting data or potential evidence may be found as deleted.

Build query:

The list of database tables is available on the left pane. Select the “sms” table with 112 potential records.

Drag the database table to the work area. You have the option to drag several tables and even create relationships between tables (or join in SQLite language). An SQLite query is automatically generated. Alternatively, you can also write your own SQLite query. To see your build queryquery results, click on the preview button.

Map data:
To map the selected data, you need to select one of the existing data models (e.g: call logs, instant messages) or a generic model. For the mmssms.db database, which holds SMS info, you should select the SMS Messages model. Now drag the field types to the correct columns. (See how the screen should look like below before you drag and drop).

Before mapping:

before mapping

 

After mapping:

after mappingSome columns have special formatting options that allow you to convert enum, lookup, XML/plist and timestamp formats to help map the relevant fields and columns, and also make the information readable by selecting the timestamp global format, for example, or customizing your own format.

Run Query:

Now that you completed the mapping process, run the query created in a way that new records are added to the SMS Messages model.

run query

For the the SMS Messages model, there were 207 records as part of the decoding, and after running the manual query there are 319 records available. Therefore, by using the SQLite wizard, I was able to recover a total of 112 new records!

The new records can be treated just like any other decoded record, I can tag, filter, search and include those in my report output. The manual queries can be saved for future use, where you can auto run it as part of the automatic decoding process, and recover huge amount of data that you would otherwise would not be able to access.

new records

Fuzzy methods

In addition to the manual SQLite query tool, we developed another tool to enrich your investigation with valuable data from unsupported database sources, using the Fuzzy model plugin. This innovative solution identifies new data sources, handles and parses unknown databases and endless application databases – some of which are supported by Cellebrite and some are not. Information is being automatically analyzed using a heuristic process and a unique set of rules.

This solution scans and analyzes all the databases and all tables within the databases, and automatically maps the records into a known model ( such as email, IM, call logs etc.).

There are two types of fuzzy models:

  1. Fuzzy objects – View extracted data from any database which has not being decoded by UFED Physical Analyzer’s parsers. This model holds information regarding a certain artefact such as contact, account etc.
  2. Fuzzy events – View extracted events such as messages, call logs etc.

For each one of these models, you can see the list of results presented in a table and the database view pane, which displays the contents of database files that were found in the extraction.

Once the decoding process is complete, you can run the Fuzzy plugin directly from the main menu (Tools àRun Fuzzy model plugin).

The results are presented under Analyzed data in the project tree. Any record in these two tables can indicate a potentially relevant piece of evidence. To find more details, it is recommended to analyze the source database.

Records with a timestamp are also available in the timeline view, which allows you to track and view events in a chronological order to quickly understand the chain of events.

 

*https://www.statista.com/statistics/266210/number-of-available-applications-in-the-google-play-store/

Python Script to Map Cell Tower Locations from an Android Device Report in Cellebrite

Recently Ed Michael showed me that Cellebrite now parses cell tower locations from several models of Android phones. He said that this information has been useful a few times but manually finding and mapping the cell tower locations by hand has been a pain in the butt. I figured that it should be easy enough to automate and Anaximander was born.

Anaximander consists of two python 2.7 scripts. One you only need to run once to dump the cell tower location information into a SQLite database and the second script you run each time to generate a Google Earth KML file with all of the cell tower locations on it. As an added bonus, the KML file also respects the timestamps in the file so modern versions of Google Earth will have a time slider bar across the top to let you create animated movies or only view results between a specific start and end time.

Step one is to acquire the cell tower location. For this we go to http://opencellid.org/ and sign up for a free API. Once we get the API key (instantly) we can download the latest repository of cell phone towers.

mappic

Currently the tower data is around 2.2 GB and contained in a CSV file. Once that file downloads you can unzip it to a directory and run the dbFill.py script from Anaximander. The short and simple script creates a SQLite database named “cellTowers.sqlite” and inserts all of the records into that database. The process should take 3-4 minutes and the resulting database will be around 2.6 GB.

Once the database is populated, the next time you dump an Android device with Cellebrite and it extracts the cell towers from the phone, you’ll be ready to generate a map.

From The “Cell Towers” section of your Cellebrite results, export the results in “XML”. Place that xml file and the Anaximander.py file in the same directory as your cellTowers.sqlite database and then run Anaximander.py –t <YourCellebriteExport.xml> . The script will start parsing through the XML file to extract cell towers and query the SQLite database for the location of the tower. Due to the size of the database the queries can take a second or two each so the script can take a while to run if the report contains a large number of towers.

output

Ed was kind enough to provide two reports from different Android devices and both parsed with no issues. Once the script is finished it will let you know how many records it parsed and that it generated a KML file.

done

This is what the end results look like.

mapresults

The script can be downloaded from: https://github.com/azmatt/Anaximander

This is the first version and there are several improvements to make but I wanted to get a working script out to the community to alleviate the need for examiners to map the towers one at a time. Special thanks again to Ed Michael for the idea for this (and one other) script as well as for providing test data to validate the script.

Follow my blog for up to date digital forensics news and tips: http://digitalforensicstips.com/

About Matt:

Matt performs technical duties for the U.S. government and is a Principal at Argelius Labs, where he performs security assessments and consulting work. Matt’s extensive experience with digital forensics includes conducting numerous examinations and testifying as an expert witness on multiple occasions.

A recognized expert in his field with a knack for communicating complicated technical issues to non-technical personnel, Matt routinely provides cyber security instruction to individuals from the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Interior, as well as other agencies, and has spoken frequently at information security conferences and meetings. Matt is a member of the SANS Advisory Board and holds 11 GIAC certifications. Among them: GREM, GCFA, GPEN, GCIH, GWAPT, GMOB and GCIA.

 

 

Access Historical WhatApp Conversations with UFED Cloud Analyzer

With UFED Cloud Analyzer 5.2, you can unfold suspect’s daily conversations by extracting WhatsApp backup from Android devices. While conversations are stored locally on the device, a WhatsApp user may backup their content to the cloud and later restore it on new devices, or when downloading the app again. Android device users can store the backup on Google Drive- the backup frequency (daily, weekly or monthly) is configured by the user.

You can access the information whatsappstored on Google Drive by utilizing login information from the Android mobile device. The login information contains two elements: the Google login information required to access Google Drive and a device key required to access the WhatsApp messages. If the Google login information has expired, you can use the credentials for the Google account, but to obtain the message you will also need the device key which is available in the account package generated by UFED Physical Analyzer. Without the device key, you can access the WhatsApp backup, however you
will only have access to media files (photos and videos) attached to the message, without the message itself.

whatsappeg

When can this become useful in your case?

  • When WhatsApp content isn’t available on the device- – a suspect or victim may be using a new device, and did not restore the data.
  • When WhatsApp data was deleted from the device.
  • When you don’t have access to the device.
  • Cloud backup may contain more info than in the device information.
  • When the user switches from an iPhone to Android, not all the content is smoothly transferred, since backups act different in iOS and in Android.

Register for a 30-day UFED Cloud Analyzer free trial, and explore how you can extract case-critical information that is only available in the cloud. forensicfocus_ufedcloudtrial_sept2016

TomTom Triplog Decryption: Provided by Cellebrite Advanced Investigative Services

Global Positioning Systems (GPS) fall into the category of wireless communications that hold a considerable amount of evidence that can be used in an investigation. People’s whereabouts are recorded in “second-by-second” detail on their TomTom navigation system and retrieving this type of information can provide powerful digital evidence for your case.

In recent years, the law enforcement community has seen a dramatic increase in the use of GPS devices as an instrument of a crime or as a “witness device” collecting and logging positional data while the crime is being carried out. TomTom and Garmin units are by far the most popular devices law enforcement have been encountering. The sales of portable navigation devices are at an all-time high.

Last year, more than forty million portable GPS devices like TomTom’s GO series or Garmin’s Nuvi series were sold worldwide.* In Europe, TomTom is the most widely used navigation system; and the big market share (47%) could be attributed to the TomTom built-in installation in vehicles. Forensic analysis of vehicle movements records can provide evidence of considerable value in crime detection. (While Cellebrite does not provide data extraction from built-in systems, we support decoding of chip-off data extractions from them, and then decryption of the triplogs).

Cellebrite supports a select list of TomTom devices, which can be found here. Aside from extracting timestamped GPS locations from the trip log files using unique decryption technology, Cellebrite also provides decoding support for contacts, calls and locations. Forensic analysis of such records can provide evidence of considerable value in crime detection.

Upon setting up a TomTom device for the first time, it prompts the user for permission to collect information from the navigation device. The information or triplogs shared is used to improve maps and other services offered by TomTom, such as traffic information related to where the user is. (These services are disabled if a user chooses not to share the information).

If the user accepts, his or her TomTom device is set to log all trips in dedicated binary files known as triplogs. These files are saved in the device file system under a directory named STATDATA. The triplogs collected illustrate a breadcrumb trail of where the person travelled to with the navigation system in very high resolution. TomTom triplogs are encrypted in order to protect user privacy, but also accumulate additional encryption obstacles to the ones that already exist.

Cellebrite offers a unique decryption service to our customers, as part of Cellebrite Advanced Investigative Services, that enables the extraction of timestamps and locations from the triplog files that reside in the STATDATA folder. The triplog files hold complete trip GPS information (including latitude and longitude), and thousands of locations, in a resolution of 1 to 5 seconds.

TomTom Triplogs

How can I send Cellebrite these triplogs?

Using UFED Physical Analyzer, open the extraction and then select Tools,TomTom menu, select Export to save the XML file generated from the triplogs, and submit to Cellebrite via CAIS. The decrypted data will be sent back to you within a few days, and ready to be imported into UFED Physical Analyzer- where the triplogs can be viewed in detail (3 second log when device was active). A kml-file can then be generated and viewed in Google Earth and other similar applications.

UFED Physical Analyzer enables TomTom extraction and decoding of the following information: home, favorites, recent, user entered, locations, last journey, location, date & time, routes, GPS fixes (also deleted), deleted locations (of all categories), as well as recovery of geotag visualization of location based data on Google Earth/Maps.

UFED Physical Analyzer has also been equipped with a covert feature that enables silent activation of triplog files, which means that you can connect a TomTom device to the UFED system and activate the logging feature. As soon as this is carried out, the device will start saving triplogs, once TomTom is in use again.

Send us an email to learn how Cellebrite Advanced Investigative Services can help with your encrypted triplog files, along with Google Earth KML files.

Watch the webinar below to learn how you can use UFED Physical Analyzer to extract TomTom files:

References

*http://www.forensicfocus.com/tomtom-gps-device-forensics

Cellebrite launches actionable forensics data in the field

Police work is mostly about solving cases, and this is not a trivial task. Gathering clues and hints is important to achieve the desired outcome. Everyone today has a mobile device on them wherever they go, and these devices are storing a lot of information (calls, chats, locations, pictures, contacts), leveraging this data for investigation is just common logic.

Researchers conducted on investigation process proved that evidence or clues that are gathered within the first 48 hours are imperative to solving cases, and the statistics shows that when there is no real direction the chances to ever solve the case decreases by 50 percent.

So the need for speed is clear, and providing actionable data extracted from mobile devices is a necessity. How can this be done? A mobile forensic examiner would require years of experience to develop the right skill sets to overcome different technical challenges of obtaining forensically sound evidence. How can we speed the process and move mobile data recovery from the forensic labs, where we have the experts, to the field where we have excellent investigators whom ar not experts in mobile forensics?

This is the exact challenge we faced at Cellebrite when we started planning and designing our UFED InField solution. We have consulted with many of our customers (both digital forensic experts and police investigators), and together we defined the criteria and needs of users for field mobile extraction. There were three main obstacles we needed to address:

  1. Extraction duration – it must be quick and effective, as in the field there is no time for long process.
  2. Simplicity – The users are not technical nor forensic experts, and therefore the flow should be as simple as possible.
  3. Deployment management – When you have a wide deployment of devices across the country to enable investigative teams to perform mobile extraction quickly, you must have a tool to manage the deployment and set flows per the need on the agency.

With new release of UFED InField 5.2, we kept the above three challenges as part of our product design guidelines, and indeed, based on the feedback from our beta customers, we gained a lot of progress.

Meeting all the needs for field forensics is a journey, and together with our customers will continue to research and develop new capabilities to make the experience simplified and efficient as possible.

Join the journey and discussion share your ideas and feedback by posting a comment below. Perhaps together we can help build a safer society.

I am hosting a webinar next week, Wed. June 22nd, on how you can simplify mobile data access in the field to speed investigations. Click here to register.

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Introducing Cellebrite’s Advanced Digital Analytics Platform

Today we are excited to announce our new UFED Analytics solutions, a cornerstone of the Cellebrite Unified Digital Forensics Platform. Designed in collaboration with our customers, the new UFED Analytics Platform simplifies the complex by automating the manual, time-intensive tasks associated with analyzing and managing data collected from mobile devices, applications, cloud services and CDRs.

Comprised of three offerings, the solutions act as a force multiplier, empowering examiners, analysts, investigators and prosecutors to simultaneously organize, search, map, visualize and manage large sets of digital data to identify patterns and reveal connections between one or more subjects – or cases – quickly and efficiently. Advanced text, image, video, geolocation and link analysis capabilities deliver the deepest, most accurate insights possible, helping to accelerate investigations.

Cellebrite’s Analytics Product Family components include:

UFED Analytics Desktop: Designed to meet the needs of a single forensic practitioner or investigator, this application simplifies and automates analytical tasks, allowing a user to easily identify the critical relationships that can focus investigations.

UFED Analytics Workgroup: Designed for 50 users or less, UFED Analytics Workgroup delivers a client-server solution that efficiently and effectively manages hundreds of digital data sources.

UFED Analytics Enterprise: This scalable platform supports a complete, end-to-end digital forensics workflow, allowing anywhere from tens to hundreds of users to collaborate on a case or perform cross-case analysis simultaneously.

Expanding beyond the mobile landscape

The time has come for our customers to consider a more efficient approach in order to work cases faster. Sifting through data to search for evidence in PDF reports is like going fishing, and the more mobile devices, the more data, the bigger the report. Investigators can no longer waste their time with manual analytical processes. We now enable investigators to move beyond disparate data repositories and manual analytical processes to a unified investigative platform. With intuitive and streamlined digital forensic data management, case stakeholders can collaborate and act on digital data in real-time.

Read our case study to discover how the McLennan County District Attorney’s investigative process is already benefiting from this new approach.

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Discover Best Practices and Advanced Decoding with UFED Physical Analyzer: Q&A from Cellebrite’s webinar

In a recent webinar, Dan Embury, our CAIS Technical Director, provided participants with tips and tricks, and best practices to help them get the most out of UFED Physical Analyzer. Overviews include Android custom recovery, Android UFS-based device unlocking, BlackBerry 10 backup encryption, Android backup APK downgrade, Apple iOS jailbreaking overview, as well as decrypting and decoding TomTom trip log files.

The webinar is available for viewing at the bottom of this post. During the webinar, participants asked a number of good questions, which we’ve compiled in this blog.

Note: If you don’t see your question answered below, please leave a comment at the end of this post!

Q: Can you confirm that TomTom decryption is not included in UFED Physical Analyzer

A: The decryption itself is not included in UFED Physical Analyzer. It requires offline processing, utilizing a large number of computers and processors. Ultimately, exportation of TomTom decryption in XML format can be forwarded to Cellebrite, and we will do the decryption. The decrypted results are then provided back to you to analyze in UFED Physical Analyzer, using the TomTom import function.  Please contact CAIS@cellebrite.com for more details and to submit your encrypted trip logs.

Q: WhatsApp recently announced that they have encrypted chat and voice chat, can UFED extract WhatsApp data after the WhatsApp upgrade?

A: In general, messages while in-transit are encrypted however this does not affect data-at-rest (forensics) stored in the WhatsApp databases. Cellebrite will release a solution in the coming days to decrypt the new WhatsApp encryption key – crypt9.

Q: When retrieving the BlackBerry encryption key using BlackBerry ID and password, how does this work?

A: Within UFED Physical Analyzer, you may retrieve the key associated with a BlackBerry ID using known credentials and decrypt the backup data from BlackBerry devices.

How to use: Open a file system extraction of a BlackBerry 10 device.  During the decoding process, a window is displayed: Enter the BlackBerry ID credentials and select Get Backup key (to retrieve a key, an Internet connection is required in order to communicate with the BlackBerry company servers).

You can save the key for future usage by selecting the Save button. If an Internet connection is not available, you can retrieve a key on any instance of Physical Analyzer connected to the Internet. Go to Tools and select Retrieve BlackBerry 10 Backup Key.

Enter the BlackBerry ID credentials and select Get Backup key. Click Save and load the key from the UFED Physical Analyzer disconnected from the network to continue with the decoding process.

Q: Are new Android devices encrypting the information in a unique fashion for each device?

A: The results of ongoing research both at Cellebrite and within the forensic community are exposing what sort of evidence can be extracted from these newer devices. The processors that are being integrated into Android, iOS, and BlackBerry devices are very powerful integrated circuits.  Since there has been such a focus on security over the past few years, these chips contain dedicated cryptography functionality to perform background tasks without impacting the user experience, all the while making security easier to implement and stronger against attack.

Q: Do you plan to incorporate jailbreaking into the product?

A: At this point in time, we do not plan on incorporating older jailbreaking methods into the UFED.  The best resource to find viable jailbreaks can be found at http://canijailbreak.com

Q: Are you recommending that we jailbreak all iPhones when possible in order to extract the maximum amount of data?

A: If your agency permits jailbreaking and the investigation warrants the additional effort to jailbreak the exhibit, then by all means, maximal effort should be expended to seek the truth and extract all evidence possible.  You simply don’t know what evidence you may be missing, whether inculpatory or exculpatory.  Major cases, cold case homicides, missing persons, and other exigent circumstances may justify jailbreaking, but always seek permission from stakeholders and test the method on a matching sample device.

Q: In iOS, how did you get emails using Methods 1 and 2 on an iPhone 5S?

A: The test case from the webinar was an iPhone5,2 (A1429) which is an iPhone 5, not an iPhone 5S.  Performing a jailbreak enables a Method 3 extraction to pull protected emails from the file system.  The emails pulled using Method 1 and 2 were from web-based emails that were clearly not protected with the file system.

Q: In your experience what is the success rate for jailbreaking phones?

A: From our research, the jailbreak will either work or not work, depending on a number of factors, including if the user upgraded the iOS firmware in the past using OTA (over-the-air).  The various jailbreaking teams work hard to prevent any adverse effects, but since the “first-to-finish” concept seems to apply for each iOS version, not a lot of effort is put into solving corner cases that would apply to forensics, versus the typical consumer not caring if the device needs to be reset prior to the jailbreak.

Q: Has Cellebrite been able to bypass the iOS pin on iPhones?

A: Cellebrite has the unique unlocking services provided by Cellebrite Advanced Investigative Services (CAIS).  The current offering is for iOS 8 running on the iPhone 4S, 5, and 5c, as well as associated iPad and iPod touch models.  The service helps investigators in important cases for which traditional mobile forensic tools do not have support.  Ongoing efforts by our leading team of researchers is continuing for newer models and those running iOS 9.  Please contact CAIS@cellebrite.com for more details.

Q: Does Cellebrite plan on including Android custom recovery partition flashing in the UFED?

A: The upcoming UFED release will add custom recovery for Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, and Note 5 to allow physical extraction while bypassing lock for models without locked boot loaders, such as Global models and those offered by Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular.  Cellebrite’s UFED replaces the device’s original recovery partition with Cellebrite’s custom forensic recovery partition based on Team Win Recovery Project (TWRP).  Cellebrite’s recovery image does not affect any user data.  It is recommended to use the Forensic Recovery Partition method when other physical extraction methods (e.g. Bootloader) are not successful, or not available (i.e. if the Android’s firmware version is not supported).  For other carriers, including AT&T, Cricket, and Verizon, please contact CAIS@cellebrite.com for more details.

Q: Couldn’t a backup of the device give you the ability to go back to the starting point if custom recovery fails?

A: Unfortunately, it is not possible to do a backup of the device when there is a user lock code set and Android Debug Bridge (ADB) is disabled.  Cellebrite’s fully tested custom forensic recovery partition methods should not fail or cause any adverse effects (e.g. boot loop, etc.)

Q: Do you know if Windows 10 phones are encrypted at the chip level?

A: Research into less popular handsets can be performed if sufficient demand comes from our customers.  Some previous Lumia Windows 8/8.1 can be analyzed with our unique boot loader physical extraction, while other models can be supported with JTAG, chip-off, or In-System Programming (ISP).  We always welcome feedback via Technical Support for obscure mobile devices that you frequently encounter and we do not support.  Often times, minimal effort from our researchers is required to make the necessary additions to our UFED device coverage, all the while helping you solve more crimes.

Q: How does Android APK Downgrade work within UFED, and are there any risks to this method?

A: UFED downgrades encrypted Android apps in the device itself over Android Debug Bridge, by pushing an APK package to it, since it’s possible to then have an older version of the app do the interpretation of the newer inaccessible data. Within the UFED 4PC/Touch, connect to the device, and downgrade the app to an earlier version to extract the app database. There are some risks to this method since it makes changes to the device, thus, it’s advised to use as a last resort. If you know that a suspect is utilizing an application, and the extraction of all the other databases from the device do not produce any fruitful evidence, this method is recommended.  For example, if you believe that there was communication taking place via WhatsApp, then it’s important to squeeze out every last little bit of evidence from the device.

Click here to start your free trial for UFED Physical Analyzer.

View the full webinar below:

What’s New in UFED 5.0: Q&A from Cellebrite’s Webinar

Earlier this month we hosted a webinar entitled, “What’s new in UFED Touch, 4PC, Physical Analyzer, Logical Analyzer 5.0?” The webinar provided attendees with insights on the latest features and capabilities introduced in version 5.0, including unique extraction capabilities such as temporary root (ADB) solution for Androids, and detailed demo’s on merging multiple extractions into a single project, removing deduplications, and a new and effective validation process, as well as filtering out common images, and other industry-first capabilities that helps you drill into the data that’s most crucial to your investigation.

During the webinar, we received an array of excellent, intuitive questions from participants. A selection of these questions, with corresponding answers, have been compiled into this blog.

The webinar is available for viewing at the bottom of this post.

Note: If you don’t see your question answered below, please leave a comment at the end of this post and we will try to provide you with an answer ASAP.

Q&A – Let’s begin!

Q: Which fields are used to determine duplicated messages for Chat, MMS and SMS?

A: We have set of rules for deduplication. For the analyzed data (SMS, emails, chats), we identify key values for duplication for each model/content type and based on that we remove duplicates and merge items. For data files (text, images, video and more), duplicates are based on hash value calculation.

Q: After the deduplication process completes, are there any reports or items showing that there was a duplication?

A: You can find an indication of deduplicates in any table in the UI. There is also a filter available to filter this information, and there is also an indication in all report formats.

Q: Sometimes physical extractions of a single project contain duplicate messages due to garbage collection, etc.  Is there a way to detect and remove duplicates from a single project?

A: Indeed. Version 5.0 automatically remove duplicates of a single project/extraction as well.

Q: Is the application able to create a hash of the whole Image or project?

A: UFED Touch/4PC 5.0 creates a hash of the whole Image of any physical extraction. UFED Physical Analyzer 5.0 enables you may review this MD5/Sha-256 value and validate/verify it.

Q: I see that you didn’t include merged data when you were gooing through the reporting feature, is there a reason why you would include this information.

A: By default, the merged items are not included in report as we assume that the main items are the most important. You may change this default values and include the merged items as well.

Q: Is there a way to get a summary of all contacts that are on a phone?  The Contacts area doesn’t always capture the contacts from apps (i.e. Whatsapp, Viber, etc.).  I find that I need to extract SMS/MMS/Chats/CallLog and then combine the logs together for a contacts summary.

A: All contacts recovered are presented under the contacts node in the tree, including contacts recovered from 3rd party apps. We do plan to merge SMS, IM, MMS and chats (all messaging events) into a unified view, it is planned in one of the coming versions of UFED Physical Analyzer.

Q: Using the upgraded UFED Touch and Physical Analyzer, I have noticed that looking at results for a logical extraction for some phones deleted data is shown. Can we actually get some deleted during logical extractions now?

A: Deleted information from apps can be recovered as part of logical extraction.

Q: When you change the name of the extraction, does it change the name of extraction file that is placed in the folder?
A: No, the name change is only for viewing and reporting purposes

Q: Since WhatsApp is now encrypted, can UFED 5.0 extract WhatsApp encrypted data?
A: Messages while in-transit are encrypted however this does not affect data-at-rest (forensics) stored in the WhatsApp databases. On top of that, WhatsApp have recently started using a new encryption key – crypt9. We are working to provide a solution for this encryption.

Q: Can UFED Physical Analyzer 5.0 pull data (pictures and videos) from SnapChat, or only text messages?
A: For both iOS and Android devices, media files are extracted as well.

Q: Is there a specific order as to when you have to do the ADB and APK backup and downgrade?
A: It is recommended to use the APK downgrade as a last resort, after other extraction methods have been exhausted (including JTAG and chip-off), since it’s an intrusive method, which requires APK installation on the device.

Q: Why do some of the recovered passwords display as clear data, while most of them are encoded?

A: In many cases, the passwords are stored as tokens, this is why you can’t see clear data. Private data is stored encrypted as tokens. When the password is first entered, it is sent to the server for storage. Every time the password needs to be checked then the public key encrypted password gets sent to the backend server and decrypted by the private key. In PA, you can see these encrypted values.

Q: If you use the time zone support, does it make any changes to the extraction or is it just for easier viewing?
A: For easier viewing and reporting, no change is done to the original

Q: About the timestamp option, can you explain about the options in the settings? When does it prompt when device time zone is detected?

A: To automatically adjust timestamps to UTC+0. Select the Automatically adjust timestamps to UTC+0 check box. This setting is recommended when working on multiple extractions so that all records will be presented according to the same adjusted time zone offset.

In case a time zone is detected as part of decoding, a pop up window will be presented, suggesting you to automatically adjust the time stamp. Alternatively, you can change it in the general settings. When the Automatically adjust timestamps according to the device’s time zone check box is selected, all timestamps will be adjusted to the mobile device time zone, including report outputs.

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