Mobile device forensic tool test results performed by NIST
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has established a methodology for testing mobile device forensic tools in order measure the reliability of mobile device forensic tools on the market.
The NIST approach is based on well-recognized methodologies for conformance and quality testing. Although NIST performs comprehensive quality tests of all known tools in phone forensic industry periodically, for this particular result review, we took the latest test results of competitive tools applicable for this date. All official documents with NIST test results can be found at www.dhs.gov/publication/mobile-device-acquisition
Overall success rate
Popular mobile device forensic tools
The diagram was created by Compelson Labs and displays Success Rate measured from the test results of the latest versions of products published by NIST as following:
MOBILedit Forensic Express v18.104.22.16807 (published in Nov 2017), UFED Touch/ Physical Analyzer v22.214.171.124 / v126.96.36.1994 (published in Jan 2018) and MSAB XRY v7.3.1 (published in August 2017)
Documents listed at the NIST website show the results from testing phone forensic tools across supported mobile devices and associated sections divided into Android, iOS and UCC/SIM. Examiners from NIST tested several product capabilities such as view, search for or retrieve data from a mobile device. This data includes different types such as call history, messages, files, calendars, notes, raw application data, social media data, GPS related data, etc. There were total of 747 fields in table matching the tested mobile device with the capability. MOBILedit has succeeded in 588 fields across the tests with a success rate of 78.7%, following with MSAB’s XRY (77.8%) and Cellebrite’s UFED Touch (75.1%).
Tests have also shown that there are significant differences in results between individual data types across the competitive tools tested. Each tool was able to demonstrate certain strengths over the others, and there is no single tool that demonstrated superiority in all testing categories. Our conclusion is that there is a significant increase in the success rate when performing a cross-reference tool analysis. In the real world, when there is a case, each piece of evidence matters. With a combination of tools you can get up to 89.6% overall success rate.
NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) was founded in 1901 by the U.S. Congress in 1901, heeding the call from the nation's scientists and industrialists to establish an authoritative measurement and standards laboratory.