MSAB part of new European standard for mobile forensics
The ForMobile project kicked off on the 8th of May 2019 in Mittweida, Germany. The consortium includes nineteen institutions, from thirteen European states and two associated countries, representing law enforcement agencies, universities, research institution, standardization institution, and other EU agencies, like Interpol. ForMobile is a research and innovation project under the Horizon 2020 framework programme funding research, technological development, and innovation. The reason for the project is that mobile phones pose a unique challenge for law enforcement agencies, due to the volume and variants in circulation. Over 85% of all crime investigations include evidence from mobile phones.
ForMobile´s three major objectives
The overarching goal of the ForMobile project has been to establish a complete end-to-end forensic investigation chain for mobile devices through three major objectives: Tools, Standard and Training.
1) Tools - To develop advanced, innovative tools and software for the successful acquisition, recovery, analysis, and visualization of data.
2) Standard - A best practice, standardized process for the mobile phone forensic chain, “from mobile phones to court”.
3) Training - To give law enforcement agencies the necessary training to effectively use the new tools and successfully follow the standardized procedures.
The work has been divided into 10 Work Packages that reflect the analysis chain used by security practitioners that examine mobile evidence.
“The aim in this project has been to improve digital safety and security in the EU while respecting fundamental rights. MSAB has been instrumental in supporting and funding research into these efforts to ensure that close attention is paid to the right to privacy as well as to the right to a fair trial. This is also reflected in the development of a new EU Standards document specifically written to guide law enforcement on mobile forensics covering people, processes, tools, and ethical considerations”, says Joel Bollö, CEO MSAB.
The EU is a connected society. Mobile phones are used to continuously share information, files, and images. Much of this is innocent, but criminals and terrorists use the same channels to communicate. ForMobile tackles this risk and will benefit three key groups; The new tools, standard and training will make the work easier for security practitioners. Research groups will benefit from it through gaining access and insight into the latest information and techniques in the mobile forensic industry. EU Citizens will feel safer and consider Europe a safer and enjoyable place to live.
“The introduction of the tools, supported by the standardized processes and relevant training, means that law enforcement agencies will improve investigative capabilities. Using solutions and methods that did not previously exist, will be feasible for them to recover evidence from encrypted mobile phones, and data stored in cloud services. In addition to incorporating knowledge about cloned phones and anti-forensic methods into the forensic investigation process. Criminals are using mobile phones to communicate, coordinate, organize and execute illegal activities. It is imperative that law enforcement agencies have ways to; access, decode and use the data as evidence - in a safe, trustworthy, and reliable manner”, says Dirk Pawlaszczyk, Project Manager of ForMobile.
End of project
As the 3-year ForMobile project concludes in June 2022, the project team has met with external stakeholders during a two-day event at the Netherlands Forensic Institute in The Hague on the 28th and 29th of April for presentation of the project results. The final work packages results, the submission of the technical report will be delivered by mid-May and the final review meeting takes place in June. When the project ends the objectives in the project have been reached - the standard has been published, prototypes of tools are ready for exploitation and the pilot training was a success.