Cell Phone Forensics...Is it really deleted?

Cell Phone Forensics is reason number 6,783 why you shouldn't do 'everything' on your cell phone especially conduct personal or unethical business. Because you may have thought you deleted that SMS message or phone number that you thought nobody would ever find about, but...

...on the contrary, if you want to go back and retrieve data that was deleted from a wireless or cellular handheld, depending on when it was deleted and if that data has been overwritten it is possible. Cell Phone Forensics or Wireless Digital Forensics is the methodology, science or technology that is used to study the flow of how wireless information moves over the network. It is a growing industry within wireless that emerged from the computer forensics industry. And you thought they only used that stuff on the TV Show CSI, lol.

What Are You Sending From Your Cellular Phone?

Better think twice before you compose that next message, send that SMS or store that phone number. So do you have anything to worry about? Uhhh, well I suppose it depends on what kind of information you are moving through your mobile handheld over the wireless network as well as what kind of information you SHOULD NOT BE moving from your mobile handheld over the cellular network. If you are working for a company that requires top secret security clearance or any level of security clearance for that matter or you work in the financial industry or an industry with lots of ‘intellectual property’ then you need to be extra careful. With a cell phone forensics system in place someone can go back and retrieve ALL KINDS of deleted information from your wireless handheld device...Some stuff might be deleted, other segments in your memory may not be so it is the luck of the draw what kind of information may show up.

I'm sure most of you are out there using your laptop with your wireless laptop card and your little cell phone to send sensitive and highly confidential information through the wireless space, with no worries and completely not aware that your information is not secure for one and for two can be monitored and retrieved, deleted or not, with a good cell phone forensics system. I know that some of my clients have purchased it for their offices abroad so if you work for one of those companies, uh oh. No worries (until now), many companies are not 'that' technologically advanced even if they appear to be. Most of their IT helpdesk administrators probably don't even even know how to upgrade their BlackBerry Servers or even reset it from time to time let alone go retrieve information from a deleted cell phone. I KNOW, I'm the one who has to remind them to do it ;-)They are getting better though.

It has only been since early 2000 that U.S. cell phone companies started selling cellular handhelds that have the memory, convenience and browsing speed that has allowed people to start using their wireless devices for everything they do. But reality is your cell phone or handheld mobile gadget was meant to be used to work complimentary with your desktop or laptop not in place of it. People have gotten so carried away with the convenience of it all, not realizing the consequences of managing their entire personal and professional lives on their cell phone or mobile handheld device (with no backup source at that).

Wireless & Cell Phone Security Precautions

If you do not know the current state of wireless security within your company or organization these are some of the things you need to be doing or start doing today:

1. Ensure that someone on your IT team is trained and certified through a cell phone foresics security program such as the one offered by Live Ammo or use a company such as Trust Digital that can help you build a design and manage a secure wireless environment.

2. Have a secured system along with a backup source and system in place for people who spend a lot of time on their cell phone and wireless handheld devices.

3. Set ‘IT Security Policies’ if you use a BlackBerry Enterprise Server 4. Use CAC Sleds (Client Access Cards) or Smart Card Readers for an extra layer of security and authentication for your mobile workforce that live on their wireless devices 5. Know what's going out and going on: If you are in an environment where a lot of sensitive and confidential data is traveling over a cellular or wireless network, invest in a Wireless Digital Forensic Handset Investigation Tool like ‘Paraben’s Digital Seizure’.

This program allows you to monitor wireless and cell phone usage and patterns in your organization (be advised, most patterns that are a little strange is because people weren't properly trained how to use their services...classic :)). Digital Seizure supports over 300 models of cell phones and PDA’s. It can recover deleted and erased data, provides an easy user interface and has multi language capability so that you can use it in your offices in both the U.S. and abroad. And it will provide you with credible and hard data in the event you are involved in something like a lawsuit (only in America, huh?) lol.

Cell Phone Forensics:Tapping the Air, Part One
Cell Phone Forensics: Tapping the Air, Part Two

Additional Resources for Consumers looking to retrieve deleted phone numbers or SMS text messages from a phone:

Recover Data

A Complete Listing of Cell Phone Forensic Shareware Options

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