A client recently called with a request to collect data from the cell phones of six custodians who worked in the field at multiple locations across the metro area.
To perform this service using traditional forensics tools and processes, a forensics expert would need to drive to each site to pick up a phone, take each phone to the office to perform the collections there, and then travel to return each phone.
As an alternative, we could ship remote collection kits to each custodian and direct her/him through a self-collection process. However, that process would take multiple days for each custodian including overnight shipping time.
Instead, we recommended the use of ModeOne’s remote collection technology and completed the task for each custodian collection in less than five hours.
ModeOne reduced a one-week smartphone data collection assignment into a straightforward three-day project.
How Does Remote Collection Work?
Each custodian received an email with a Zoom invitation. They visited a regional field office, connected their iPhone to a computer using a single cable, logged on, and followed simple instructions to connect online. Depending on each individual’s technical savvy, this process took between 10 and 30 minutes per employee.
Andrew Meinheit, Digital Forensics Examiner, took over from there. He configured the software to collect text messages transmitted within a specific time period. In the past, his only option would have been to collect data from the entire phone, but with ModeOne he can perform a targeted collection, preventing privacy issues and unnecessary expenses.
Because iPhones require periodic authentication while downloading data, the custodians were present for the entire process. However, rather than feeling inconvenience or hardship, they were relieved to maintain possession of their personal devices as the collections proceeded.
“Thanks to ModeOne, we can collect with less strain on a custodian. The custodians never have to be without their devices. They don’t have to worry about them being locked in a lab,” said Meinheit.
Collection times varied slightly: from three to five hours (the longer time resulted from slower internet connection speed). On day one, Andrew was able to collect simultaneously from multiple devices, collecting all 35 GB of text messages within that timeframe.
On day two, Andrew completed data processing and reporting, delivering several reports to the client on different aspects of the data so they get the information they need.
By day three, he had delivered the load file, and the client had full access to the content for review. A process that traditionally has taken a week or more was fully completed in three business days.
The client was thrilled that the process eliminated the hour-and-a-half drive to gather each device, avoided over-inclusive collection, and eliminated related expenses. They were also pleased to learn they could begin reviewing data on day three rather than waiting a week or more.
With Complete Legal, collecting and reviewing data is easier than ever. Easily pinpoint the communication you need, whether it’s by date, location, keyword, or person. Contact us to learn more.
A version of this article first appeared on the ModeOne website. To learn more about their solutions visit ModeOne.io.