Cell Phone Behaviors
Cell phones are technology that many of us cannot be without for long periods of time. In fact, I personally always have my cell phone by my side for most of they day and night. Have you ever thought of how much of your information and day by day patterns are stored in that small gadget? This is going to be a quick, but informative discussion on cell phone data and how it can be useful for investigations. We will discuss three ways of gaining pattern of life through cell phone use and analysis.
The first method is the easiest. This method is if you are the direct owner of the active phone line. Many cell phone providers will allow the owner of the line to review the outgoing and incoming calls and texts. While these won't show you what is said, it will gain insight on who is in contact with who, how often throughout the day, and what times throughout the days. When I am conducting analysis of this report I am particularly looking for five things.
1) What numbers are being linked.
2) Who is typically the first to contact.
3) What is the preferred method of contact.
4) What are the usual times/days in which they are in consistent contact.
5) When do they stop contacting each other.
This last bullet point is crucial. If there is a number that is consistently talking to a number on your plan, and there is a day when there is silence, this is a HUGE clue. Usually this means that these two individuals have no need to use the cell phone for communication. Why? Because they are most likely together in person. Think about it. Think about the person you text most throughout the day. Take note of how often you text and/or call them through the day when you're separated all day, then compare that to a day when you are both together. I am willing to bet the call/text logs will show a significant decrease in communication when you both are together, side by side all day.
The next method is to get the phone extracted. This can be done with an active or inactive phone and you must have the phone and passcode in your possession. An extraction can be performed with specialized equipment and pulls all data, from the phone including location data, texts, voicemails, notes, etc. anything on the phone, is typically retrievable. Tracie Investigations LLC performs this service and it typically takes between four to eight hours to complete an extraction.
The last method is reserved for emergency situations. This is when a warrant signed by a judge is issued to a cell phone provider. This is called the Call Detail Records or CDR's. Usually this method is reserved for law enforcement agencies, but Tracie Investigations LLC does have this capability.
In conclusion, if you are the owner of the cell phone account, you are able to do some minor analysis on your own! Depending on your case needs, it is possible that you would be able to get a full extraction from an expert. Typically you won't be able to use the last method; but seek the advice of a trained professional.