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Chinese Cell Phone & Digital Forensics


Chinese Cell Phones & Digital Forensics

In this article, we explain why investigators need to understand the macro trends in the cell phone industry driving the incorporation of more Chinese chipsets in phones and the challenges that they present to examiners. We also lift the lid on Tarantula, a new analysis system developed to analyze problematic Chinese “white box” cell phones and, increasingly, the legitimate branded phones based on Chinese chipsets.


Hercules had to defeat a hydra as one of his 12 labours. It was a monster with 9 heads, and if Hercules smashed one head, two more would take its place. For mobile forensic investigators, Hercules’ hydra takes the form of Chinese cell phones. More specifically, knock-off phones, known internationally as “white-box” or “clone-phones” and “Shanzhai” (pirated goods) in China, have taken world markets by storm. In 2011, over 800 million cellular mobile devices in close to 40,000 models were manufactured in China. Approximately half of those were exported to world markets, comprising of more than 30% of the global cell phone market.




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George Bailey

George Bailey is an IT security professional with over 15 years of experience

 

Coming up in the Next issue of Digital Forensics Magazine

Coming up in Issue 34 on sale from February 2018:


Device Forensics in the Internet of Things

As more businesses and consumers adopt IoT devices, privacy violations and cyber-attacks by malicious actors will become commonplace due to the insecure IoT infrastructure. Read More »

Data Destruction In Current Hard Disks & Data Destruction Techniques

Data destruction is a process traditionally applied using physical techniques, aiming at the completely destruction of the hard disk, however, there is an increasing interest in the use of logical techniques for data destruction, that allow reusing the physical device. Read More »

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Faster Searching For Known Illegal Content

Cryptographic (“MD5”) hash searching for known illegal material is one of the most thorough methods of digital forensic investigation. However, the technique is hampered by the ever-increasing size of media being examined, and the size of the hash list being searched. Read More »

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