Predictions abound this time of year. We’ve seen plenty for the mobile device, information security, and even digital forensics industries overall—but nothing for mobile forensics. We decided to ask a panel of six “power” Cellebrite customers for where they envision the field going this year.
Eoghan Casey, co-founder of CASEITE and a SANS Senior Instructor; John Carney, Chief Technology Officer at Carney Forensics; Cindy Murphy, computer crimes detective at the Madison (Wisconsin Police Department); Gary Kessler, associate professor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Heather Mahalik, mobile forensics technical lead at Basis Technology and a SANS Certified Instructor; and Paul Henry, principal at vNet Security and a SANS Senior Instructor all weighed in on trends in law enforcement, law, regulatory issues, and of course, mobile technology. Here’s what they told us:
Apps forensics comes into its own this year
“Whether it’s mobile messaging, personal navigation, social media or improving productivity – apps are going to dominate smartphones and tablets in 2013,” said Carney. “The ability to extract critical data stored in apps will become the new measuring stick by which investigators gauge the superiority of mobile forensics tools.”
Smartphone platforms are still fluid
Android took 75% of the global market in Q3 of 2012, iOS dominates the bulk of bandwidth usage, and BlackBerry—whose new sales are still in steep decline—remains a legacy device which mobile examiners can continue to expect to see in their labs. And Windows Phone 8 may gain strength. Mahalik and Carney both foresaw a need for better forensic support for the platform this year.
Mobile forensics meets BYOD
“Bring your own device” spread rapidly across enterprises in 2012, and continues. Carney says this means “contending with more devices that contain both personal and corporate evidence as well as an increase in legal challenges related to device access and privacy during corporate investigations.”
Expect more mobile malware
Malware is already rampant on Android devices, and this trend won’t decline. “The intended uses of mobile malware will be very similar to non-mobile malware – steal money, steal information and invade privacy,” says Murphy, who expects law enforcement to have to contend with it particularly in stalking, domestic violence and even child exploitation cases.
Regulatory and legislative landscape remains uncertain
Few lawmakers and judges understand the nature of mobile technology, yet they’re scrutinizing them much more closely than they did computers, according to Kessler. “This speaks to the need for greater education regarding the scope and possibilities of mobile forensics and what it means for privacy and pretrial discovery,” he says. Even so, look for mobile devices and the data they contain to take center stage in both civil and criminal investigations, as more civil litigators begin to realize their importance.
Click here to access “The Year Ahead for Mobile Forensics: Cellebrite’s Panel Predictions for 2013”