FORMOBILE is an EU-funded initiative made up of 19 partners from various European countries with one notable addition – Kyrgyzstan.
The Kyrgyz State Technical University - named after I.Razzakov, is an important member of the FORMOBILE project. They have helped the team discover and purchase clone phones from markets in Kyrgyzstan that have close links to supplies of counterfeit devices made in China. Forgeries are often favoured as they are much cheaper than the devices they mimic, but still, give a good first impression to others. The devices are also less restrictive, often allowing their users to determine the software installed. Most today are Android-based, even the clone iPhone models!
Why is FORMOBILE interested?
Sadly, all too often, poverty, criminality and clone phones have a connection. Due to the lack of a standardised approach when creating the devices, each copy can be different, presenting new challenges and characteristics to examiners. Therefore, technology that can automatically identify clone devices and extract its data, which can help speed up investigations and streamline the recovery and analysis of digital evidence.
For these reasons, FORMOBILE committed to adding 100 phones into the existing repertoire of MSAB – the only EU based market leader in mobile forensics. With the newest release of XRY v9.4.3 – MSAB’s flagship application for extracting digital evidence – the latest counterfeit capacity surpasses 240 devices!
What has the work involved?
The team in FORMOBILE’s Work Package 4 has been scouring online and offline markets to identify suitable phones to purchase. Once the team took possession, they worked to test the devices and write specific scripts to aid the extraction process.
The results of FORMOBILE’s Work Package 4 efforts mean that they have surpassed initial targets by over 240%.
What is next?
The WP4 team, consisting of NFI, KTSU, HSMW and MSAB are extremely pleased with the progress achieved. Plus, the partners plan to continue in the same vein, providing LEAs across the EU with the ability to extract and gather evidence from more cloned mobile phones before the project concludes in April 2022.
Besides, FORMOBILE is working to develop knowledge, skills and training to be shared between practitioners across Europe during the project’s final year and beyond. A module in the training courses specifically for handling clone phones is anticipated as part of this deliverable.
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