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Forensic Analysis of Social Networking Applications on Mobile Devices

The increased use of social networking applications on smartphones makes these devices a goldmine for forensic investigators. Potential evidence can be held on these devices and recovered with the right tools and examination methods

This paper focuses on conducting forensic analyses on three widely used social networking applications on smartphones: Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. The tests were conducted on three popular smartphones: BlackBerrys, iPhones, and Android phones. The tests consisted of installing the social networking applications on each device, conducting common user activities through each application, acquiring a forensically sound logical image of each device, and performing manual forensic analysis on each acquired logical image.

The forensic analyses were aimed at determining whether activities conducted through these applications were stored on the device’s internal memory. If so, the extent, significance, and location of the data that could be found and retrieved from the logical image of each device were determined. The results show that no traces could be recovered from BlackBerry devices. However, iPhones and Android phones store a significant amount of valuable data that could be recovered and used by forensic investigators.
Source: University of New Haven
Authors: Noora Al Mutawa | Zayed University | Ibrahim Baggili

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