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.