Criminal exploitation of smartphone apps targeted

The meteoric growth of smartphone app development continues unabated and brings with it a demand for revolutionary commercial tools that exploit next-generation mobile phone data beyond the call logs and text messages which currently support crime investigations and operations.

Sep 6, 2012
By Paul Jacques
Haroon Iqbal

The meteoric growth of smartphone app development continues unabated and brings with it a demand for revolutionary commercial tools that exploit next-generation mobile phone data beyond the call logs and text messages which currently support crime investigations and operations.

Government agencies and commercial organisations charged with processing smartphone data that may subsequently be used as court evidence or within military engagement scenarios are also subject to further ramifications in terms of their legal compliance and ability to produce forensically robust, secure and auditable evidence acquired from these novel sources.

Radio Tactics, specialists in mobile phone and digital device extraction technologies, has been granted a substantial award by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) to fund research into the exploitation of smartphone applications within the context of crime and fraud investigation.

Paul Martin, chief operating officer at Radio Tactics, said there has never been a greater need for systems architecture that allows decoders of app data to exploit new apps and present acquired information in intuitive, yet forensically robust ways.

“There are over six billion mobile phones in use around the world, some of which have become a standard tool in crime from low-level activities to terrorism,” explained Mr Martin. “The ability to exploit the contents of a suspect’s phone to collect simple information such as text and call records is commonplace and renowned as an effective investigative tool, but the advent of apps such as Skype, Twitter and Facebook has dramatically enhanced the capability of today’s smartphones, notably in a criminal context.

“With smartphones representing over 50 per cent of phones sold in the West, there is now an urgent need to invent new technology and business models that will continue to empower investigators with the tools they need to fight crime. Radio Tactics has a vision on how to address this issue and, with the support of the TSB, this can now be realised.”

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