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Gary Kessler Associates

Cell Phone and Mobile Device Forensics

The explosive growth in the availability and use of cell phones and other mobile devices — coupled with the expanded capabilities of these devices — has made this area of digital forensics increasingly important. For many years now, cell phones have been a recorder of information, often related to criminal or other nefarious behaviors, not to mention often being the instrument — and, occasionally, the target — of that behavior. Mobile devices contain a plethora of data, including contact lists, phone and Internet browsing history, text and multimedia messages, e-mail, photographs and videos, geolocation information, and much more. Indeed, smartphones are mobile Internet terminals and contain more probative information per byte examined than most computers.

Examination and analysis of cell phones requires a very different forensic process than that applied to computers. Every step — from seizure to preservation to transport to the exam itself — requires processes and tools to ensure minimal alteration to the original evidence. The complexity in performing a thorough exam of a mobile device and the analysis of the contents should not be underestimated; while computers today largely employ only two or three different operating systems (depending upon how you count), there are at least six major operating systems used on mobile phones that are still in circulation.

Gary has been conducting mobile phone forensic examinations since 2006. Most of this work has been on behalf of the local, state, and federal law enforcement community in Vermont and Florida, including the U.S. Attorney's Office and Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. Gary has also examined mobile devices on behalf of clients in civil litigations. Gary has acted as an expert witness in several federal criminal cases, as well as numerous civil matters.

Gary is also a frequent speaker at conferences about the process of mobile device forensics. He has also conducted many training courses on mobile phone and smartphone forensics.

Gary Kessler Associates is capable of performing logical and physical analysis of most types of cell phones, tablets, GPS devices, and other mobile devices. In conjunction with partners, GKA is able to provide a broad range of services, including chip-off examinations and analysis of call detail records and cell tower information.