Title: A platform independent and forensically sound method to extract WhatsApp data from mobile phones

Authors: Aritro Sengupta; Amit Singh; B.M. Vinjit

Addresses: Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, New Delhi, India ' Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, New Delhi, India ' National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra – 136119, Haryana, India

Abstract: With the increasing usage of WhatsApp worldwide, for text and media communication, WhatsApp data artefacts are prioritised by forensic investigators and LEAs to examine and prosecute crimes. Nowadays, the well-known conventional methods of extraction are failing to extract the required WhatsApp data due to updated security patches of the operating system and various other hardware updates. Investigations may end up being intangible due to a lack of production of WhatsApp data as evidence before the court of law. In this paper, a forensically sound method of extracting WhatsApp data is discussed which works irrespective of the hardware and software specifications of the mobile phone. Several parameters which detect the efficiency of WhatsApp data extraction have been discussed which are based on state-of-the-art technologies and recent field experience. In the later section, we have compared the proposed method with the other conventional methods of extraction.

Keywords: digital forensic technique; digital forensic tool; mobile forensics; WhatsApp forensics; law enforcement agency; chat crawling; court of law.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESDF.2023.130657

International Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, 2023 Vol.15 No.3, pp.259 - 280

Accepted: 11 Jul 2022
Published online: 02 May 2023 *

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