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The Trouble with Mobile Device Forensics

By David Kalat

The first problem with mobile device forensics is the name. “Mobile devices” is a catch-all term meant to encompass cell phones, smartphones, tablets, and hybrid “phablets.” But even these terms are inherently misleading—they imply that we are talking about phones. In 2011, physicist Michio Kaku noted that today’s mobile “phones” have more computing power than all of the computers NASA used to land astronauts on the moon.[1] The average mobile “phone” today easily outstrips the power of the Cray, Deep Blue, or any supercomputer of a generation ago.[2] Current models have faster processors, access to more storage, better network connectivity, and more robust software than the average PC from just 10 years ago. We call them “phones” at our peril—they are powerful computers that just happen to be able to place calls as well.

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