Mobile Forensics & Android Security

Mobile Forensic Anjali Singhal todayDecember 11, 2023

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This blog will provide you with a quick review of mobile forensics and an in-depth analysis of the most important security aspects of Android security.

Today’s digital age has produced many technical advancements, whether smartphones or basic next-generation technology like virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Smartphones are becoming more and more essential to surviving in our world than just a luxury. Today, cell phones are used by over 50% of people worldwide, according to various statistics.

These phones are now multipurpose devices instead of just being basic call and texting devices due to advancements in data storage and phone characteristics. These days, cell phones may be used for more than just making calls and sending texts. They can also be used for managing business tasks, sending emails, browsing the internet, capturing movies, producing and saving documents, and using GPS services to locate specific areas. To put it another way, sensitive personal data is now stored on mobile devices.

This proves beyond a doubt that the risk increases with the number of cell phones in use, making mobile forensics essential in today’s environment.

Mobile forensics

Mobile forensics uses a variety of methods to retrieve, extract, and analyze data from mobile devices. Put simply, it functions on the data that is stored on the device, including browser history, voicemails that have been saved, images, videos, contact information, and call and message details. Mobile forensics recovers this data with integrity for a larger goal using a variety of methodologies.

A device’s data is frequently more valuable than the actual device. The demand for mobile forensics is always rising for a number of reasons. These are only a handful of them:

Use of mobile phones to store personal information — Keeping sensitive information on mobile devices Our phone is our primary device in the modern world. Our phones hold a great deal of information. It’s been suggested that by merely perusing through someone’s smartphone and apps, we can learn a lot about them, including their interests and even personalities.

Increased use of mobile phones to perform online activities: technology has made it easier to do business and engage in online activities without a laptop or computer in the Internet age. With just an internet connection, your smartphone can become even more useful for networking, shopping, surfing, and even gaming.

Use of mobile phones in several crimes Mobile forensics has been used to solve many criminal cases. Law enforcement can access all contacts, calls, SMS, emails, and, possibly more importantly, all locations the suspect’s phone has been through by using mobile forensics. The fact that mobile forensics was instrumental in cracking cases like the Boston Marathon bombings and the 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt confirms the growing importance of mobile forensics in case solving.

The Role of Operating Systems

The operating system of the device is the primary factor that affects mobile forensics. Both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android are the most widely used smartphone operating systems in the market, and we all know them. Since these operating systems are always changing, mobile forensics should also be evolving to stay up to date.

Android security

Certain features of the Android platform are integrated into the architecture to guarantee the security of users, apps, and data. These security features occasionally prevent investigators from accessing crucial data, even though they aid in data protection. Three goals are pursued by the integrated security features and offerings:

· To protect user data

· To protect system resources

· To make sure that one application cannot access the data of another application

Here’s a brief overview of the key security features of the Android operating system.

Security at the OS level through the Linux kernel

The Linux kernel serves as the foundation for the Android operating system. Android attempts to guarantee OS security by putting the Linux kernel at the core of its platform. Additionally, Android has integrated a great deal of customized code into Linux to incorporate specific mobile-related features. The Linux kernel provides the following essential security features for Android:

· A user-based permissions model

· Process isolation

· Extensible mechanism for secure IPC

Permission model

Android uses a permission model that is specific to each app. Applications have to specify the permissions they need. Four levels of permission exist for Android: normal, dangerous, signature, and signature/system. Every time permission is needed while the app is running, more recent Android versions notify the user the first time. Although functionality may be limited, this model enables a user to use an application without granting all permissions requested by the application.

Application sandboxing

Android uses the Linux user-based protection model to separate applications from one another. Each user on a Linux system is given a distinct User ID (UID), and users are kept apart to prevent one user from accessing another’s data. As a result, every Android application given a UID executes independently of other processes.

This means that even if a malicious application is installed, it can only operate within the limitations of its permissions and context. Sandboxing of this application is carried out at the kernel level. Applications are assigned user and group IDs, among other standard Linux facilities, which guarantee the security between them and the system at the process level.

Applications have restricted access to the operating system and are unable to read or access the data of other applications by default. Because Application A lacks the necessary user privileges, the operating system prevents it from trying to read Application B’s data, for example. The application sandbox mechanism is applicable to both native and OS applications because it is implemented at the kernel level. As a result, all applications, including the operating system libraries, application framework, and application runtime, operate inside the Application Sandbox. To get around this sandbox system, the Linux kernel’s security would have to be compromised

If this article has invoked your interest in learning about mobile forensics, you can explore Hawk Eye Forensic Trainings, a complete guide to mobile forensics, from setting up the workstation to analyzing key artifacts.

Written by: Anjali Singhal

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