Forensic Extraction Of Data From Mobile Apple Devices

This article examines the fundamentals of a forensic examination covering Apple mobile devices. A step-by-step guide describing the process of forensic data extraction and analysis exemplified by Apple mobile devices (iPhone) will be given below. This article will also familiarize its readers with such special-purpose software used in digital forensics as Belkasoft Acquisition Tool and Belkasoft Evidence Center. It will also show how to utilize them to examine devices of this type.Analysis of mobile devices is of great importance when it comes to incident investigations since a lot of information about the owner of a device and other sensitive data is stored on them. Apple’s mobile devices, such as iPhones and iPads, make up roughly 15% of the mobile device market. That is why forensic laboratories have to deal with them quite often. Correspondingly, this piece will examine the following two key points related to forensic analysis of such devices: i.e. extracting data from the Apple mobile devices together with forensic analysis of such data.

Mobile Data Extraction Types

There are four main types of data extraction in the field of mobile forensics:

1.Logical extraction which handles only certain types of data such as contacts, calls, SMS, etc. Normally, such extraction is performed by installing special software on a mobile device. However, this method is not applicable here because of some features of data organization and security rules covering the Apple devices.

2.Creating a backup copy implies the extraction of logical data that is stored on a device’s memory and which can be extracted according to the security regulations. This is the most widespread data extraction method regarding Apple devices.

3.File system extraction. With this method, one can extract all the logical data from a device. It is applicable to all the Apple devices after jailbreak and makes it possible to extract the maximum amount of data from such devices. At the same time, not every Apple device can be jailbroken. For example, it is not possible when it comes to Apple devices with the latest iOS version.

4.Creating a physical dump. As for this method, one can extract not only logical but also deleted data. Unfortunately, this method can be used only with iPhone 4 and earlier models now.

iPhone Data Retrieval

In this article, it is an iPhone’s data that exemplifies the process of Apple data extraction for the creation and analysis of a forensic copy (the process is identical when it comes to iPads).

Let us use the free Belkasoft Acquisition Tool utility program. It is worth mentioning that it is impossible to extract data from a blocked Apple device. To confirm this statement, we can recall the following notorious story: the US Government, represented by the Department of Justice, requested Apple to unlock a terrorist’s device. Another article will tell which forensic methods can be used to unblock such devices. As of now, it is time to launch Belkasoft Acquisition Tool.

Then click on ‘Mobile Device’ on the screen.

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