Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NIST develops experimental validation tool for cell phone forensics

03.12.2009
Viewers of TV dramas don't focus on the technology behind how a forensics crime team tracks a terrorist or drug ring using cell phone data, but scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) do. NIST researchers have developed a new technique aimed at improving the validation of a crime lab's cell phone forensics tools. Early experiments show promise for easier, faster and more rigorous assessments than with existing methods.

Cell phones reveal much about our daily communications—the who, when and what of our calls and texts. A small chip card within most phones, called an identity module, stores this and other data for a subscriber. A subscriber identity module (SIM) accommodates phonebook entries, recently dialed numbers, text messages and cellular carrier information. Forensic examiners use off-the-shelf software tools to extract the data, allowing them to "connect the dots" in a criminal case such as identifying affiliations or detecting mobile phone activity around the time of an event.

But for this information to be used as evidence in court or other formal proceedings, the software tools that forensic teams employ are normally validated to determine suitability for use. Currently, preparing test materials for assessing cell phone tools is labor intensive and may require learning new command languages to perform the process.

NIST scientists detail their proof-of-concept research in a NIST Interagency Report, Mobile Forensic Reference Materials: A Methodology and Reification (available online at http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistir/ir7617/nistir-7617.pdf.) They also developed an experimental application, called SIMfill, and a preliminary test dataset that follows the methodology described in the report. SIMfill can be used to automatically upload cell phone data such as phone numbers and text messages to "populate" test SIMs that can then be recovered by forensic cell phone tools. In this way, examiners can use SIMfill as one method to assess the quality of their off-the-shelf tool.

The SIMfill software and dataset may be downloaded for free at http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/SNS/mobile_security/mobile_forensics_software.html.

"In this report," explains coauthor Wayne Jansen, "we document the results of a recent experiment with a number of commonly used mobile phone forensics tools. No tool was found to work perfectly and some worked poorly on fairly simple test cases."

The automated features of the applications and XML representation of test data allow technicians to develop new test cases easily. This offers a simple alternative to using manual means or specialized tools with higher learning curves. The data can be adapted to different languages with alternate character sets.

"Our research was a proof of concept," Jansen says. "Hopefully, forensic examiners will use our work to validate mobile forensics tools thoroughly before they employ them." The next step in the research is open. Scientists could expand the technique for mobile handsets and other types of identity modules, or the forensic community could decide to adopt this dataset and application as an open source project, according to Jansen.

Evelyn Brown | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nist.gov

Further reports about: NIST SIMfill cell phone forensic software tool text messages

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Ultrathin device harvests electricity from human motion
24.07.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot
21.07.2017 | Stanford University

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>