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Forensics experts see challenge, potential in iPhone

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Monday, August 27, 2007
News Categories: iPhone

The iPhone represents both a challenge and a potentially useful tool to digital forensics experts, reports Wired. Digital forensics attempts to use data gathered from devices such as computers and cell phones to solve crimes or provide additional evidence relevant to prosecutions. Some industry insiders, such as Derrick Donnelly of Blagbag Technologies, a company specializing in Apple forensic solutions, find the iPhone tempting for the amount of potential data it could contain. “There is more information in there than your average cell phone,” said Donnelly. “The ease of use lends itself to more use … and more use creates more artifacts.” Artifacts are pieces of data that can be used by forensic detectives to establish links between the user’s actions and a crime.

Others in the industry fear that the closed nature of the iPhone’s Mac OS X operating system could cause problems in court due to the fact that it would be difficult to prove the data extracted from the device hadn’t been tampered with. “The iPhone is evil,” says Amber Schroader, CEO of Utah-based Paraben, a digital-forensics software developer. “It’s Mac OS X, and it’s a completely closed system.” Donnelly explains, “Because it’s a different file system and a different operating system, right off the bat the things you’re usually looking for are not in the same places and they are in a very, very different format.” Even Mac specialists like Donnelly are struggling with how to access the iPhone’s closed system without altering the data by turning on the device. The article mentions that forensic experts may be forced into using older techniques, like photographing data as it is displayed on the screen itself, to get at the information. The iPhone is currently incompatible with existing forensic software and data-extraction tools.

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Comments

1

“The iPhone is evil,” says Amber Schroader, CEO of Utah-based Paraben”

Wow. I wonder if this lady sees demonic raisins in her raisin bagel?

If your reading this Amber, please choose your words carefully…try not to be so evil.

Posted by unreal on August 27, 2007 at 12:41 PM (PDT)

2

“If I don’t exaggerate, I won’t get in the news stories.”

Posted by OnlyShawn on August 27, 2007 at 1:06 PM (PDT)

3

ZOMG the evilness of a closed system based on UNIX!  How will we ever figure out what’s going on in those daemonic /bin and /var directories?

Why, oh why can’t it be open like Windows Mobile?

Posted by dasmb on August 28, 2007 at 8:48 AM (PDT)

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