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Rework for Mobile Device Repair

4½ days

Background

Mobile devices can be damaged either through normal use, deliberate snapping or failure of specific chips which are vital to the device powering up successfully. Consequently, digital forensic units are routinely faced with mobile devices which cannot be powered on to a stable state such that data can be extracted using commercial forensic tools. Where possible and practical, such devices need to be repaired by removing and replacing the damaged or faulty chips on the device’s printed circuit board (PCB). These techniques are referred to as “rework” within the electronics industry.

Course aims

Successful removal and replacement of chips from a mobile device PCB requires appropriate equipment and skilled techniques to ensure that the circuit board and surrounding components are not damaged in the process. This may include desoldering using specialist hot air tools, preparation of replacement chips using stencilling techniques and re-soldering of the replacement chip (again with skilled use of hot air).

Rework for Mobile Device Repair is a 4½ day course designed to teach delegates how to safely de-solder faulty chips from an iPhone PCB and resolder working replacements. The intention being to return a device to a bootable state where data can be extracted using commercial forensic tools.

Delegates will also learn how to repair damage to pads on the underside of any chip caused by accidental or intentional physical damage. Delegates will be working primarily on iPhone models (including those with “stacked” PCBs), however the techniques taught on the course can be used on any PCB with surface mounted chips.

The course also includes hands-on experience in chip-off techniques for data extraction from feature (“burner”) phones as well as eMMC flash memory chips from unencrypted legacy Android devices, satnavs and vehicle systems.

What you will learn

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Safely remove and replace iPhone chips to repair faults which prevent data extraction
  • Successfully clean and “re-ball” chips in preparation for repair
  • Repair broken pads on printed circuit boards (PCBs) caused by physical damage to a mobile device
  • Recover the contents of flash memory chips
  • Explain and justify their actions in court

Who should attend?

Delegates must have previous soldering experience. Ideally this will have been achieved by attending our Mobile Device Repair course (or other Control-F courses involving hand soldering).

Rework for Mobile Device Repair sits alongside our Intermediate Mobile Device Repair course which focuses on the diagnosis of board-level faults that may necessitate chip removal. Digital forensic units will gain maximum benefit where staff have attended Intermediate Mobile Device Repair and Rework for Mobile Device Repair.

Data Demystifier 1

4½ days • Online instructor-led

Background

Digital forensic software tools extract data from devices and present that data on screen for analysis, typically by means of a simple point-and-click interface. Such tools provide great benefits in simplifying both the acquisition and analysis phases of a mobile device examination, thereby allowing more devices to be processed in less time. However, this simplification has its drawbacks, most notably that forensic examiners are less likely to encounter, and therefore understand, the raw data stored on the device. This lack of understanding fundamentally limits an examiner’s ability to present evidence with confidence.

Course aims

Data Demystifier 1 is a 4½ day online instructor-led course designed to give existing digital forensic examiners a true understanding of the data recovered and decoded by forensic software tools.

Delegates will learn the fundamental encodings used for time and date information, text data (ASCII and Unicode) as well as the vital role played by file signatures in digital forensics.

Students will gain extensive experience in working with raw data within a hex editor: understanding offsets, Endian-ness, using regular expressions to search large device extractions, manually carving data of interest and then making sense of that data.

Developing an in-depth understanding of how electronic devices actually store data enables digital forensic examiners to not only corroborate the evidence presented by commercial forensic tools but also to recover and present evidence which such tools may have missed.

What you will learn

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Confidently navigate raw data within a hex viewer and manually carve data of interest
  • Construct regular expressions to search for deleted media files within a physical extraction
  • Identify and interpret data encoded using Little Endian and Big Endian byte ordering
  • Attempt manual repair of unplayable MP4/3GP/MOV video files
  • Explain and justify their actions in court

Who should attend?

This course is targeted at existing digital forensic examiners who have at least 6 months of experience. Ideally, delegates would have previously attended either of the Control-F Foundation in Mobile Phone Forensics or Foundation in Securing Computer Evidence courses (or equivalent).

Technical requirements

Delegates will require a computer with a minimum 10MB Internet connection, a webcam and speakers (or headset). Delegates are strongly recommended to ensure they have access to dual monitors.

App Investigator 1

4½ days • Online instructor-led

Background

Smartphone and tablet devices submitted to forensic units present a veritable treasure trove of potential evidence generated through the use of pre-installed “1st party” and user-installed 3rd party apps. Unfortunately, the relentless evolution of new and existing 3rd party apps means that commercial forensic tools cannot realistically decode, interpret and report all of the data of interest to investigators.

Course aims

Android and iOS platforms both make extensive use of SQLite, a free open-source database platform, to store data relating to first and third party apps. Analysis of SQLite databases can recover live and deleted data as well as often overlooked binary data such as thumbnail images. In addition to SQLite databases, iOS devices make use of Property List (plist) files to store application data and mobile forensic examiners need to be skilled in analysing and reporting data from both file formats.

App Investigator 1 is an instructor-led online course designed to teach delegates how to recover evidence from smartphone and tablet applications. This includes first party apps, but the emphasis will be on developing skills and techniques for working with 3rd party apps which are unsupported by commercial forensic tools. Delegates will gain experience of working with data recovered from iOS and Android devices.

What you will learn

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Locate view and recover evidence from SQLite databases used by smartphone applications
  • Maximise evidence recovery from SQLite databases through appropriate handling and analysis of associated Write Ahead Logging (WAL) files
  • Locate, view & recover evidence from Property List (plist) files used by iOS and associated applications
  • Manually decode smartphone apps
  • Explain and justify their actions in court

Who should attend?

This course is targeted at existing phone examiners who have at least 6 months experience in phone forensics. Ideally, delegates would have previously attended the Control-F Foundation in Mobile Phone Forensics (or equivalent).

Technical requirements

Delegates will remotely log in to a Control-F PC to undertake the training and as such will require a computer with a minimum 10MB Internet connection. Prior to the course a technical trial will be conducted with prospective delegates to ensure that the remote login capability is compatible with their IT infrastructure.

Delegates will also require a webcam, speakers (or headset). Delegates are strongly recommended to ensure they have access to dual monitors (one screen for remote access and a second to view the training materials).

 

Mobile Device Repair

4½ days

Background

Being able to safely repair damaged mobile device exhibits in-house has become increasingly important for digital forensic units. Charging problems, cracked screens, faulty buttons or damaged data ports are common issues which may prevent successful data extraction. Digital forensic units need to be able to get devices working quickly and safely in order to prevent the inevitable delays, costs and continuity complications associated with taking a device outside the organisation to be fixed.

Faced with a “dead” device, a mobile examiner needs to be able to quickly identify the fault (or faults), confirm whether the repair(s) can and should be conducted in-house and establish the risks associated in undertaking
such work. Although YouTube is awash with “how to”  videos for device repair, undertaking such work without properly understanding the risks could easily mean that a vital evidential exhibit is further damaged by the attempted repair. Not only that, such videos assume that the actual fault with the device has been reliably identified.
Digital forensic units need staff who can quickly and accurately identify faults and then select the most pragmatic means of repair.

Course aims

Mobile Device Repair is a 4½ day course designed to teach mobile device examiners how to identify and repair common faults with mobile devices which might prevent data extraction. Students will learn a systematic and efficient approach to fault finding designed to quickly identify common obstacles to data extraction. The emphasis of the training is on performing the simplest and most cost effective repair possible in order to acquire data from the device. Students will gain experience in disassembling, repairing and re-assembling Android, iPhone, Windows Phone and feature phone devices. Importantly, the course will include instruction in the soldering techniques required to replace data ports which are integrated into the main circuit board of the device.

What you will learn

By the end of the course, delegates will be able to:

  • Identify and resolve charging and battery issues with mobile devices
  • Replace glued and non-glued screens on mobile devices
  • Replace modular and soldered components on mobile devices
  • Transplant circuit boards from damaged evidential exhibits into “donor” devices to facilitate data extraction
  • Explain and justify their actions in court

Who should attend?

This course is targeted at new or existing mobile device examiners. The course includes close work with small components and therefore requires good eyesight and a steady hand. Previous experience in handset disassembly and soldering would be beneficial but not essential.

Intermediate Mobile Device Repair

4½ days

Background

Android and iOS devices typically need to be in a bootable state in order for data to be extracted using commercial forensic tools. Digital forensic units routinely encounter devices which are sufficiently damaged that extraction cannot take place – the device either fails to start at all or repeatedly displays the Apple logo (a “boot loop”). Although the replacement of broken screens and batteries within digital forensic units has become widespread, a subset of damaged devices require more complex fault-finding and repair techniques.

Course aims

The printed circuit board (PCB) within a mobile device is home to many tiny electronic components which work together to ensure that the device can boot and function normally. The failure of a single component on the PCB (for example, due to excess power) may lead to the device not powering at all, or “boot looping”.

Intermediate Mobile Device Repair is a 4ó day course designed to teach delegates how to identify and repair common board-level faults. Delegates will learn how to recognise components on a PCB and determine whether they have failed. They will then learn micro-soldering techniques to remove or replace faulty components in order to return a device to a bootable condition such that data can be extracted.

Delegates will gain vital hands-on experience of interpreting circuit board schematics and utilising them to locate short circuits which can then be repaired.

Delegates will primarily be working on iPhones during the course, however the techniques taught can also be used to troubleshoot and repair Android devices.

What you will learn

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Successfully diagnose printed circuit board (PCB) level faults which prevent data extraction
  • Replace faulty PCB components in order to return a faulty device to a bootable condition
  • Diagnose and repair hardware and software faults responsible for iPhone start-up issues (Apple logo “boot loops”)
  • Explain & justify their actions in court

Who should attend?

Delegates must have previous experience of mobile device repair and soldering. Ideally this will have been achieved by attending our Mobile Device Repair course.

Intermediate Mobile Device Repair sits alongside our Rework for Mobile Device Repair course. The fault-finding skills required to identify faulty chips is taught on Intermediate Mobile Device Repair – the replacement of those chips using hot air techniques is taught on Rework for Mobile Device Repair. Digital forensic units will gain maximum benefit where staff have attended Intermediate Mobile Device Repair and Rework for Mobile Device Repair.

Foundation in Securing Computer Evidence

4½ days

Background

Securing computer-based evidence is no longer simply a case of “pulling the plug” and imaging hard disk drives back in the office. The use of cloud storage, encryption and non-removable storage are commonplace and mean that a more considered and multi-pronged approach to acquiring data is required. Without a clear understanding of the way in which devices store digital data both locally and remotely, vital evidence can easily be missed, lost or altered during the acquisition process.

In addition to the technical complexities presented by current devices, the overwhelming volume of digital forensic submissions being made increases the need for triage-based approaches to assist in prioritising exhibits for analysis.

Course aims

Foundation in Securing Computer Evidence is a 4½ day hands-on course designed to teach delegates how to acquire data from a wide range of devices, whilst either powered on at a search scene or powered down back in the office. Delegates will learn how to image traditional spinning disk hard drives, SSDs and USB storage devices using established imaging tools but will also learn:

  • “Live forensic” techniques to acquire volatile RAM data, open encrypted containers and data held on cloud storage
  • “On-device imaging” techniques for dealing with storage devices which cannot or should not be removed from the host device (e.g. devices running Apple’s APFS file system, RAID configurations etc.)
  • Triage techniques for rapid identification of case-related material held on computer storage

What you will learn

By the end of the course, delegates will be able to:

  • Confidently secure evidence from a range of removable computer storage media in accordance with ACPO Principles of Computer Based Digital Evidence and ISO17025
  • Use a Linux boot disk to secure evidence from a computer whose storage media is difficult to remove or cryptographically bound to the host device
  • Perform on-scene capture of live data from device RAM, open encrypted local storage or cloud storage
  • Use forensic triage tools to identify relevant content in order to prioritise computer exhibits for evidential analysis
  • Explain and justify their actions in court

Who should attend?

This entry-level course is targeted at practitioners who are new to computer acquisition or existing staff who have not had the benefit of formal training. The course is designed to meet the needs of both lab-based staff as well as those required to secure evidence at a search scene.

Smartphone App Forensics

4½ days

Background

Smartphone and tablet devices submitted to forensic units present a veritable treasure trove of potential evidence generated through the use of pre-installed “1st party” and user-installed 3rd party apps. Unfortunately the relentless evolution of new and existing 3rd party apps means that commercial forensic tools cannot realistically decode, interpret and report all of the data of interest to investigators.

Course aims

Android and iOS platforms both make extensive use of SQLite, a free open-source database platform, to store data relating to first and third party apps. Analysis of SQLite databases can recover live and deleted data as well as often overlooked binary data such as thumbnail images. In addition to SQLite databases, iOS devices make use of Property List (plist) files to store application data and mobile forensic examiners need to be skilled in analysing and reporting data from both file formats.

Smartphone App Forensics is a 4½ day course designed to teach delegates how to recover evidence from smartphone and tablet applications. This includes first party apps, but the emphasis will be on developing skills and techniques for working with 3rd party apps which are unsupported by commercial forensic tools. Delegates will gain experience of working with data recovered from iOS and Android devices.

What you will learn

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Use appropriate tools to view and recover evidence from SQLite databases and Property List (plist) files
  • Locate, view & recover evidence from Property List (plist) files used by iOS and associated applications
  • Recover & interpret web browsing artefacts from smartphone devices
  • Manually decode smartphone apps
  • Explain and justify their actions in court

Who should attend?

This course is targeted at existing phone examiners who have at least 6 months experience in phone forensics. Ideally, delegates would have previously attended the Control-F Foundation in Mobile Phone Forensics (or equivalent).

Python Scripting 1

3 days

Course aims

As digital  forensic  examiners expand their knowledge and understanding of forensic artefacts within PCs, mobile phones and other devices, so they repeatedly encounter key evidence which is not appropriately reported by commercial forensic tools. ‘Python Scripting 1’ is a 3 day course designed to teach students how to start writing simple scripts in Python with a strong emphasis on those aspects of the language which are relevant to digital forensics.

What you will learn

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Write short Python scripts to open and process files of evidential interest
  • Write short Python scripts to recover thumbnail images from input files
  • Write short Python scripts to recover evidence from SQLite databases
  • Write short Python scripts to produce text and comma separated value (CSV) output

Who should attend?

The course assumes no prior knowledge of Python or any previous programming experience; however delegates must have previous experience of working with raw (hex) data and be confident navigating such data within a hex editor. As such, delegates should have previously attended the Control-F Demystifying Hex Data training course (or equivalent).

Advanced Smartphone & Tablet Acquisition

4½ days

Background

The prevalence of smartphone and tablet devices is a mixed blessing for digital forensic units. On the one hand, iPhone, iPad and Android devices can provide a wealth of information about the owner’s communication, associates and whereabouts; but at the same time the built-in security mechanisms provided by such devices often present a significant challenge.

Course aims

Many Android apps exclude themselves from the backup mechanisms used by commercial forensic tools and additionally, device manufacturers and 3rd party app developers provide easy to use app protection and data hiding features. It is increasingly important that mobile forensic examiners can assess the completeness of extractions and take necessary steps to recover missing, hidden or protected data.

Not only is data being more tightly secured within mobile devices, increasing amounts of data are being stored in the cloud, either by the device itself or by apps installed on it. Today’s forensic examiners need to be aware of the breadth and depth of data held within the cloud and how it can be recovered for evidential use.

Advanced Smartphone & Tablet Acquisition is a 4½ day course designed to teach attendees how to ensure maximum evidence recovery. Delegates will learn how to identify and recover evidence from encrypted PC backups of iOS devices and use the Google Android SDK to recover data from any Android device. Importantly, delegates will gain hands-on experience in recovering data for apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger which exclude themselves from the backup process as well as techniques for dealing with data hiding mechanisms including Samsung Secure Folder and Huawei PrivateSpace. In addition to device extraction techniques, delegates will gain practical experience in the potential benefits of, and obstacles to, recovering cloud-based data.

What you will learn

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Use ADB commands to connect to and recover data from Android devices
  • Recover evidence from PC backups of iOS & Android devices
  • Extract messaging app data from Huawei devices
  • Identify the use of data hiding techniques on Android devices which may prevent data extraction via forensic tools
  • Explain and justify their actions in court

Who should attend?

This course is targeted at existing phone examiners who have at least 6 months experience in mobile device forensics. Ideally, delegates would have previously attended the Control-F Foundation in Mobile Phone Forensics (or equivalent).

Foundation in Mobile Phone Forensics

4½ days

Course information

This 4½ day, entry level course is targeted at those just starting out in mobile forensics, or existing mobile device examiners who have not had the benefit of formal training.

Course aims

Foundation in Mobile Phone Forensics is a 4½ day training course designed to teach prospective or existing mobile phone examiners how to examine mobile devices in accordance with the ACPO Principles of Digital Computer Based Evidence. Without appropriate training, there is a significant risk that evidence may be lost or altered during the examination process, or that the examiner is discredited in court. The course will provide delegates with exposure to, and hands-on experience with, market leading phone forensic tools.

What you will learn

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Safely retrieve evidence from SIM cards, mobile phone handsets and memory cards using forensic software tools
  • Identify key potential evidence which is not recovered by software tools and capture it in an appropriate way
  • Implement or enhance local standard operating procedures for the examination of mobile devices within their organisation
  • Explain and justify their actions in court

Who should attend?

This entry level course is targeted at those just starting out in mobile phone forensics, or existing mobile phone examiners who have not had the benefit of formal training.