Los Angeles, California (October 5, 2011) – “iPhone users would be stunned to learn the amount of recoverable data we can get”, says Mark McLaughlin of Los Angeles based Computer Forensics International. “When you hit delete it doesn’t necessarily mean that message, text or picture is gone forever. You’re just telling the iPhone, don’t show it to me anymore and it flags that deleted data so it can be overwritten. So depending on the activity after the deletion, we may be able to bring it back like it was never deleted.”
DEA Computer Forensics Examiner Stephen Marx testified today in the Michael Jackson Death Trial that he found emails the defendant Dr. Conrad Murray had sent hours before Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009. Not only did Marx recover critical timeline emails, he also discovered digital medical charts thought to be non-existent. But the key piece of evidence was a damaging audio recording of an impaired Michael Jackson reportedly made by Murray.
Computer forensic examiners like McLaughlin, routinely use very sophisticated software tools, such as EnCase, on civil and criminal cases. They start by first making a copy of the iPhone’s entire memory – which includes active and deleted data. This exact copy doesn’t disturb the original data which makes the examination forensically sound and admissible in court. Then the copy can be searched either visually or by using keywords. The recovered data is ultimately put into known iPhone categories and displayed.
McLaughlin says, “our SmartPhone forensic capabilities have improved exponentially. But it stands to reason because they’re just pocket computers, and we’ve been searching them successfully for nearly 20 years now. So I guess people need to realize that if it’s there, we’re usually going to find it”.