The evolution in consumer electronics has caused an Texponential growth in the amount of mobile digital data. The majority of mobile phones nowadays has a build in camera and is able to record, store, play and forward picture, audio, and video data. Some countries probably have more memory sticks than inhabitants. A lot of this data is related to human behavior and might become subject of a forensic investigation.
Flash memory is currently the most dominant non-volatile solid-state storage technology in consumer electronic products. An increasing number of embedded systems use high level file systems comparable to the file systems used on personal computers. Current forensic tools for examination of embedded systems like mobile phones or PDAs mostly perform logical data acquisition. With logical data acquisition it’s often not possible to recover all data from a storage medium. Deleted data for example, but sometimes also other data which is not directly relevant from a user standpoint, can not be acquired and potentially interesting information might be missed. For this reason data acquisition is wanted at the lowest layer where evidence can be expected. For hard disk based storage media it’s common to copy all bytes from the original storage device to a destination storage device and then do the analysis on this copy. The same procedure is desired for embedded systems with solid-state storage media.
Flash memory is a type of non-volatile memory that can be electrically erased and reprogrammed. Flash memory comes in two flavors, NOR flash and NAND flash, named after the basic logical structures of these chips. Contrary to NAND flash, NOR flash can be read byte by byte in constant time which is the reason why it is often used when the primary goal of the flash memory is to hold and execute firmware , while parts of NOR flash that are not occupied by firmware can be used for user data storage. Most mobile media, like USB flash disks, or multimedia centred devices like digital camera’s and camera phones, use NAND flash memory to create compact mobile data storage.
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