Now both cell phone users and law enforcement agents can recover data that has been deleted either deliberately or accidentally.
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People mistakenly believe that if they delete something on their computers or mobile devices hen they have destroyed the information forever. This is simply not the case. Anyone who has ever watched a cop show like Law and Order knows that computer experts can resurrect such deleted information, except in extreme cases where special scrubbing software was used.
An Israeli company, Cellebrite, offers forensic technology to aid criminal investigators in the recovery of such removed information.
Cellebrite’s sales have increased dramatically since smartphones are used more and more as a source of evidence for criminal investigators. The mobile devices of suspects and victims alike may hold a wealth of evidence key to bringing a criminal to justice.
For example, imagine you were near the scene of a crime and did not know it. You may have taken pictures in the area with your cell phone that you thought were not worth saving and deleted them. The police find you and believe that those pictures may include images of the criminals or have other valuable information. Cellebrite’s technology can be used to recover those pictures.
Or maybe the criminal himself took incriminating pictures and later deleted them from his smart phone. Perhaps the police found a murder victims phone which may have had deleted information in it that proves vital to solving the murder.
Texts, call logs and contact information are also things that people might delete which can be recovered.
Yossi Carmil, the corporate co-chief executive of Cellebrite, says that his company’s new system can retrieve any such data hidden deep inside nearly all mobile devices on the market and, therefore, be invaluable to police around the world.
Cellebrite was the first company to recognize the market opportunity in users’ mobile content. The company’s advanced retail mobile solutions are unique in offering in-store phone-to-phone content transfer, backup and restore, diagnostics, and application and content delivery. In addition, Cellebrite offers retailers monitoring, statistics and analysis of sales activities.
The company employs more than 300 people of whom 150 are engaged in research and development.
Cellebrite’s technology can also aid people in recovering lost information. Have you ever accidentally deleted something important?
With more than 150, 000 units deployed with 200 mobile carriers and retailers around the world and more than 250, 000, 000 transactions a year, Cellebrite has become a world leader in the mobile retail market.
“Ten years ago someone would have to sit and physically scroll through the phone. If you had erased a message, it was gone. But like in computers, even if you delete something, it is actually still there on the smartphone. Our system can retrieve it. This is harder to do than with computers since there are so many systems and devices, ” explained Carmil.
In the forensics division, Cellebrite’s UFED (Universal Forensic Extraction Device), a high-end mobile forensics solution, extracts, decodes and analyses actionable data from legacy and smartphones, handheld tablets and portable GPS devices for use in law enforcement. Cellebrite also supports the extraction and analysis of Chinese manufactured phones.
There are more than 20, 000 UFED units deployed to law enforcement, police and security agencies in 60 countries.
The company’s forensic department saw an average 25-30 percent growth for three straight years. According to Carmil, the company controls a major portion of the global forensics market, which he estimated is worth more over $150 million a year. He expects it to exceed $1 billion within a decade, as the field broadens and new technologies are introduced.
Leeor Ben-Peretz is Cellebrite’s vice president of products mobile forensics division. He believes that key advantage for the company is the speed it markets systems which support new phones as well as its coverage of many different operating systems and devices, including those with higher levels of encryption and protection.
Cellebrite has, however, had its share of controversy. Its technology can be used with or without an individual’s consent. In 2011 the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union questioned whether Michigan State Police troopers were using Cellebrite UFEDs to conduct unlawful searches of citizens’ cell phones.
Established in 1999 by Yossi Carmil and Ron Serber, Cellebrite is a privately held company. A fully owned subsidiary of Sun Corporation headquartered in Petah Tikva, it has two subsidiary companies, Cellebrite USA Corp. based in Parsippany, New Jersey and Cellebrite GmbH based in Paderborn, Germany.