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Apple Fingerprint Technology

30 August 2012

The needs of mobile phone users adapts and changes dramatically, it seems like yesterday we were all playing Snake on our Nokia 3410s. The mobile market has boomed and technology companies are all eager to have the latest or “coolest tech” in their phones. Keen-eyed Apple fans are aware of their recent purchase of the company AuthenTec, who specialise in fingerprint technology. Even though the addition on fingerprint technology in the new iPhone or iPad is just a rumour, we at IntaForensics have been discussing how fingerprint technology could change the way we conduct Mobile Phone or Computer Forensics.

As most of us are aware, our fingerprints are completely unique. We cannot deny that fingerprint technology would affect us from in different ways, but how would it affect mobile forensics?

Andrew Callow, Senior Forensic Analyst says;

“The advent of fingerprint technology in a mobile device will pose significant challenges to Forensic Analysts. However, as with any level of digital security, its affect on Forensic examinations will ultimately depend upon its implication, as all manner of digital security measures have been found to have vulnerabilities that can be exploited in order to obtain data previous described by a manufacture as being “secure”.

The main challenges will be accessing the data. For example, rather than a pass code, access to the device may require a user’s thumbprint.

In respect to whether fingerprint technology would have an effect on proving who accessed specific data, this would be down to the implementation of the security. For example, Apple may allow users to protect specific apps (e.g. notes) that can only be accessed via a thumbprint etc. In such a situation it could be inferred that if the “Notes” app is found to contain evidence, only 1 user could have accessed, and therefore created, this data (unless the app was left open after being unlocked).

In terms of proving that someone was at a specific location, the only way I can see this helping is if a) a log file is created showing that a fingerprint was used to unlock a phone, and b) a separate log file containing GPS data references a similar or identical time, which iPhones have been known to do in the past.”

At the moment we can only speculate as to what the effects of this technology can have on digital forensics, especially with the uncertainty of the way Apple will implement this feature, if at all. There is no denying that Apple has ticked the “Cool tech” box, but it could potentially have an effect on the mobile forensics side.

If you’re interested in finding out whether the IntaForensics experts could help you with your computer or mobile forensic requirements, simply give us a call on 0845 009 2600. You can also send us an email at info@intaforensics.com with further details about your enquiry and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

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