FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What kinds of data can you extract through cell phone forensics?
|Dialed Calls||Photos – Screen Shot Saved||Deleted Passwords|
|Received Calls||Videos – Taken||Emails|
|Missed Calls||Videos – Deleted||Chats|
|Contacts||Videos – Modified||Instant Messaging|
|Speed Dials||Speed Dials||Cookies|
|Photos – Taken||Videos – Received Via Text||User Accounts|
|Photos – Deleted||Videos – Received Via Email||Web Bookmarks|
|Photos – Modified (adding captions, emojis, cropping, etc.)||Text Messages||Configurations|
|Photos – Downloaded||Installed Applications||Databases|
|Photos – Received Via Text||Audio Recordings||Documents|
|Photos – Received Via Email||Emails – Received||Calendar|
|Photos – Received Via App||Emails – Sent||Apps Downloaded|
|GEO Tags||Cloud Back Up|
What is meant by cell phone forensics?
With Cellular Forensics, we extract, preserve and analyze the data from a mobile device. MOBILE DEVICE FORENSICS is a specialized technique that requires advanced tools and equipment, an experienced staff and meticulous preservation that makes it admissible in court of law.
What type of cases can use Digital Forensics?
Criminal and civil cases, business investigations, corporate security and/or theft, family law including divorce and child custody and much more. Our team can help consult if you have any questions about your current situation or case.
Can your experts testify for me in court?
Absolutely. We are fully prepared, have experience testifying and will be happy to do so.
Can you help me gain access to an encrypted file?
Yes, CONTACT US immediately to assist in this matter.
I'm being harassed over social media by an unknown individual, can you help me identify them and take them to court?
Yes, Black Swan can help. CONTACT US for more information.
Can I recover deleted emails?
Yes, even if a user has deleted an email our forensic professionals can recover it.
How can digital forensics help with my case?
Digital forensics can create a digital history to retrace its owners, every case is different and we would be happy to discuss in depth, just how powerful and game changing this data can be for your current case/situation.
What types of digital devices can potentially hold data?
Most any device can hold data, even if that data has been deleted. These devices include, but are not limited to cell phones,tablets (i.e. Ipad, Surface, Etc.) flash drives, cameras, gaming systems, routers, vehicle black boxes, GPS’s, almost any digital device can contain data critical to your case. If you have further questions or need a more comprehensive list, do not hesitate to contact us.
I have a friend in I.T., is it okay for them to try to extract the data on our own?
This is a very bad idea and costly idea. It could make the data much harder to extract and potentially destroy valuable information or at the very least, causing it to be considered inadmissible in court. It is essential that you have a neutral 3rd party and experience forensic professional, extract this information for you. At Black Swan, we treat every case as if we would be expected to testify before the Supreme Court.
Can social media analysis help with creating a rough sketch of my target's true personality? Will it be admissible in court?
Social media provides a window into one’s opinions, beliefs, contacts, business associates and much more. We can provide in depth real time monitoring and court admissible preservation for your case.
Can you explain metadata?
Metadata is data about data. It contains information such as the date of origination, how many times it has been altered, the time and date that it was created or altered, etc. and even what type of device it originated from. Please contact us, if you have further questions.
Do you follow the federal rules of evidence when extracting data?
Absolutely and our experts treat every case as if we will be expected to testify before the Supreme Court. We will make sure that the evidence is preserved and legally admissible.
I don’t have much time. Can you provide us with overnight service?
Absolutely, our U.S. based staff will always be here to assist you. We are on call and always ready!
I don’t have much time. Can you provide us with overnight service?
As little as a few minutes. With the Black Swan Remote Extraction Machine, many phones can have their data extracted in a matter of minutes. This requires the use of our machine yourself, or at the office of one of our partners. Of course, you can still always send us your device to have an analysis done in our lab. With overnight service, we can get your phone back to you 2-3 days, depending on the carrier.
Who sees my embarrassing content?
That is completely up to you. We can provide an extraction that is provided on a USB thumb drive without ever having to view the data. However, if you wish for us to provide a presentation of the information, we will have to review all of the content. You have the option of only permitting those you choose to see what lies in recesses of the data.
Can my phone really tell where I have been?
Yes, it can. There are always limitations, and sometimes there is more or less information available, depending on what services you have active. If you use location services, for example, every picture or video you take is embedded with a timestamp and GPS coordinates. Even without some programs being activated, there are ways to extrapolate where you, or your phone, have been. Simple things such as “checking in” on social media leave footprints we can follow.
Do you need my password?
No, we don’t. That being said, it sure is helpful to have. Black Swan does have the capability of cracking passwords, but it is not always possible. The best success comes from devices to which we are granted fully access. That is why we have a no-charge guarantee. If we cannot retrieve the data, we will not charge you.
What about damaged phones?
At Black Swan, we often see devices that have been accidentally (and intentionally) damaged. It doesn’t matter what has happened to the phone, we have ways of extracting the available data. As with everything, there are limitations. We are generally very successful in saving your most valuable information from phones that were thought too far gone to access.
What happens to old texts?
You can’t take back what has already been said. That is usually true for texts as well. Ones that have not been deleted are archived in your phone’s memory, even the ones that have been deleted are still hanging around for us to find. The only limitation is when the data has been overwritten by new stored information. If it’s only been partially overwritten, there can still be traces of the message that we can uncover.
What does a call log tell you?
A call log is an important asset in filling in blanks of a story. With our technology, we can tell who was called, and when. Black Swan can also tell who called you, what calls were answered, how long conversations lasted, as well has having a complete recording of any voicemails on some devices. It is difficult to claim you do not know someone if you called them and had a twenty-minute conversation!
How can you extract a phone without being there?
It’s magic. (Not really, but it’s just as good.) The Black Swan Remote Extraction Machine is a unique piece of hardware that utilizes our proprietary technology to allow us to access and extract the data from your device via your secure connection. We are able to visually inspect the phone and then use our expert experience to properly extract all the data and provide it to you in mere minutes.
Can anyone use the service?
Absolutely! At Black Swan we represent the data, so we do not discriminate. We have worked with everyone from criminal defendants to corporations to governments to prosecutors. We have dedicated our lives to seeking out the truth. Justice is our goal, and that means we are here for everyone.
How do you prove information came from my phone?
When we do an extraction, we provide a detailed report that ties the data obtained to your specific device and at a specific time. Our extraction reports have all the pertinent details to prove from where the data came. There is no doubt in the source based on our reports. However, we do not provide any of the actual extracted data in this report, to protect your privacy.
Can I use this in court?
Black Swan’s experts have been accepted and recognized in multiple courts. With our experience, we are able to provide you fast, accurate results that come with certifications that will be accepted in court. We work hard to stay up-to-date on all requirements for legal admissibility of our work product.
Can you review the data and explain it to me?
Yes, we can provide you with an easy to understand presentation of any data we retrieve. Our experience allows us to tailor the format of the extracted information to meet your needs. Whether it be graphs, graphics, tables, charts or any other style, we can provide you with client-friendly and jury-ready results.
What all can you learn from my phone?
Everything about you. It sounds a little dramatic, even ominous, but it is true. Based on the average phone usage of people in the United States today, we can use our proprietary technology to extract the most minute details of your day. This deep dive lets Black Swan discover your habits, conversations, travels, friends and even sleep patterns. Big Brother doesn’t have to watch, you are recording your every move already.
Why do you do what you do?
Justice for all. That is why we are here. Before, only governments and large corporations could afford the extraction technology we provide. From the wrongfully convicted to the jilted spouse, we can help find the truth. The American Bar Association says a prosecutor should seek substantial truth and justice. We make sure both sides of the bar can have access to the truth.
What other services do you offer?
Black Swan specializes in digital forensics of every kind. We live and breathe device extraction, but our passion is wide-spread. We also offer computer forensics, vehicle systems analysis, video and audio cleaning, tablets, and the ever growing Internet of Things extractions, just to name a few. If it is related to digital forensics in any way, we are your go-to source.
What is the Internet of Things?
IoT, as it is often referred, relates to the connections between the things in your home and life other than the traditional computers, phones, tablets and the like. I like to refer to the Jetsons. They had a home full of gadgets that were all connected to one another for automation. In today’s world, it can be anything from your security system to your refrigerator. Basically, anything that can be controlled or accessed remotely leaves a digital trail.
What is vehicle forensics?
Think of the black box in an airplane, only this one is in your car. There are two sides to the coin. One is the crash related data. The information is stored based on a triggering event, such as skid, rapid acceleration or deceleration, or a collision. The other is the infotainment system of your car, which could include data such as acceleration logs, breaking logs, navigation history, interaction with Bluetooth devices including calls, texts, and media. Put together, the two can paint a pretty clear picture of an event.
Can you track social media?
You know we can. We can track any platform that permits public view. We can also delve into the entire history of sites to which the user (or a court order) grants us access. That would include every poke, like, share, common and message. Even ones you thought were deleted.
Do you need permission to access communications?
Some communications are public, therefore require no permissions. Others are controlled and stored by remote servers. For those we would need a court order to review. Each case is different, just as each communication is different. We are experts in both public and private messaging acquisition.
Who is Black Swan?
Black Swan is a dedicated team of forensic professionals who specialize in the digital realm. Other forensic laboratories offer digital forensics as an additional service; we specialize in the field. We are comprised of engineers, mathematicians, lawyers, former law enforcement and military personnel, entrepreneurs and social media experts. We provide the tough answers, and we provide them fast.
Aren't there a bunch of companies that do this stuff?
While there are a number of organizations that offer digital forensics, we specialize in the art and science of the field. I like to explain it in financial terms. While you may use a bank to hold your money and savings accounts, you go to a stock broker to handle your stock investments, an estate attorney to draft your wills and trusts, and a commodities broker for their services. The same is true with investigations. Go to an expert in the subject you desire.
Where did digital forensics begin?
Digital forensics was originally referred to as computer forensics. This was back when computers were the main source of retrievable data. We have surpassed anything imagined when computers were first used. Now digital forensics includes cameras, phones, memory cards, drones and even your appliances. Let’s not forget about social media sites, web searches, and databases.
Can you really do what they show on tv shows?
In many cases, what they do on television is only the tip of the iceberg of what is possible. We may not be able to redirect satellites to spy on a person’s every move, but we can certainly trace their movements after the fact, and sometimes in real time, depending on the application.
What is expert testimony?
Expert testimony is testimony given by someone with a special knowledge and/or experience in a field. It is beyond what an average lay-person would know on a subject. There is a 5 part test courts use to determine if expert testimony is acceptable:
(1) whether the theory or technique in question can be and has been tested;
(2) whether it has been subjected to peer review and publication;
(3) its known or potential error rate;
(4) the existence and maintenance of standards controlling its operation;
(5) whether it has attracted widespread acceptance within a relevant scientific community.
Can you use this as circumstantial evidence, right?
Yes. Circumstantial evidence is anything beyond eye-witness testimony. Most cases rely solely on circumstantial evidence. My favorite example is foot prints in the snow outside of a window. You may not have seen anyone there, but the circumstances show beyond a doubt there was a person outside your window.
What does "Impeachable" mean?
Impeachable means that there may be reason to doubt testimony. A good example is when a witness has a vested interest in the outcome of a case. Another example is an expert who only testifies for the prosecution or a defendant. They are less likely to be trusted as they only get paid by one side. The best example in my mind is a witness against a defendant who received a plea deal in exchange for their testimony.
Why do you care about misspellings?
Users make unique misspellings in their texts, searches and other activities. By tracking these anomalies, we can tie certain activities to specific users. This can be used alone, or with other evidence to show who was using a device and for what purpose. This is just one habit that can be used to show what is happening and who is making it happen.
What does it mean to "clean up" video and audio?
When we are working with video, it can mean lightening or darkening the frame, clarifying and sharpening the image, and making whatever is there easier to view. For audio, we can remove static and back ground noise in order to make the sample clear and understandable. Simply put, the clean up makes the information able to be used for a specific purpose while maintaining the integrity of what is there.
Why do contact lists matter?
Contact lists can be used to show who may be involved with a target. The information can be as simple as a name, or as detailed as addresses, phone numbers, emails and other handles or aliases used. Knowing with whom a person has contact can go a on way to putting together a complete picture of an event.
What do calendars and schedules tell you?
We can learn anything from regular habits to where someone was as a given pointing time. Often, these clues are used in conjunction with other data to show us exactly what is happening, a well when and where it is occurring. Sometimes, we even find unsuspected information in calendars and schedules that lead to additional discoveries.
Can't you destroy a phone like in those spy movies?
I love the scene where a spy breaks his phone and dunks it in water. It is so dramatic, and it does to work. Send us your broken and “soaked” devices. We will gladly extract all the information they contain. In truth, it is very difficult to destroy what is destroyed. It is not impossible, but much more difficult than Hollywood would lead you to believe.
Aren't tablets and cell phones just the same thing?
Not at all. While today’s phones are very powerful, the tablet still possesses more processing ability. People often use a tablet in place of a home computer. The best thing our line of work is how tablets and cell phones are often synced, allowing access to both devices’ content by just having one in hand (or attached to the Black Swan Remote Extraction Machine).
Who uses a tablet?
Unlike a cell phone, tablets are often shared. Think about who uses your cell phone on a daily basis. Maybe you let your kids watch a video occasionally on your phone, but chances are, almost no one touches your phone but you. The tablet, however, is more likely to be shared by multiple family members. This opens up the amount of available data exponentially.
What is this "Stored Communications Act"?
18 U.S.C. §§2701-2712 is where the Stored Communications Act lives. What it tells us is that a court order is required to obtain the information from the service provider / storage facility. However, it does not prevent authorized user from obtaining any and all information available from the computer, device, service, platform, server or other accessible location.
Can you really get data from a drone?
Anything that stores information can be extracted to some extent. The better the technology of the drone, the more we can access. If the drone has a camera or a memory card, or both, we can obtain the history of what was recorded.
What do you mean, you can extract a pace maker?
Anything that stores data can be reviewed. Pace makers, for example, tell us when an irregular beat occurred, and when the device had to be activated. That information alone may not be very valuable, but when coupled with other data, it can help tell the story of an event.
What is a "smart" home?
A “Smart” home is one that is connected via a central server. Technology and timers are no longer limited to your coffee maker. A “Smart” home could include automation of your home’s heating, lighting, security, internet, wi-fi, television, home security, etc. We can extract this information to tell you what is happening at a residence, day or night.
How can you help with a Jury?
We can let you know who you are dealing with, even better than a traditional jury consultant. Many individuals detail their lives via social media, therefore their “True” feelings are often expressed by “likes” comments and posts on various platforms. Social Media analysis alone can lead to more Strikes for Cause.
What does it mean to "Strike for Cause"?
In a trial, each side gets a certain number of “strikes” to whittle down the jury panel. A strike for cause does not count against this number. In order to strike for cause, you have to show that a juror is biased. At Black Swan, we are experts in delving into a juror’s online interactions to show their leanings and inclinations. This allows you to have greater control of what jurors remain on the pane, thereby allowing you to enpanel a better jury for your client.
Why would anyone want to monitor a Jury during trial?
Just as a strike for cause is important, knowing that a juror is obeying the orders of the court is paramount. If a juror is discussing the case, or doing their own research, it can damage your case and hurt your client. If the jury is not following the rules, you need to know. A mistrial is an important tool, just as an impartial jury is necessary for justice.
What makes Black Swan different?
At Black Swan, we think that everyone should have access to world-class digital forensics expertise. In the past, only governments had access to these services. We seek substantial truth and justice for all, no matter their position in society. We represent the data, and the data doesn’t lie. Additionally, we specialize in digital forensics. It is not just a service we offer, it is THE service we offer.
When are you available?
24/7/365 is our promise to you. We are available day and night. There is no time we cannot be reached. We have experts ready to help whenever you call, email or chat us. We know that justice should never rest, so we maintain full services at the drop of a hat.
Are there limitations to what you do?
As with anything, there are limits to the magic. Some services require court orders. Others may depend on what applications you have available, turned on, or to which you are subscribed. Unfortunately, some devices are so damaged, outdated or obsolete, that no extraction is possible. That is why we have a no data – no charge guarantee. If we can’t perform, you don’t pay. You have nothing to lose.
Is extracting a phone even legal?
There are many ways we are able access information. One way is publicly posted data. We are able to review social media posts that are made public at any time. Another way is if we have permission. You can always have an extraction done on any device or other item which you own. Finally, if a court orders the retrieval, we are able to access anything in the court’s order.
Does every case need a digital forensics expert?
Absolutely, even if you think it is not applicable. We have expertise and experience that allows us to look at your problem from angles you would not consider. You may think that information is not related to your case, but we can show you how the digital proof can help you in ways you would have never imagined. A recent case in the news is absolute proof. A young man was wrongfully accused of an attack. Just before trial, his mother saw a post in her social media account that was time-stamped, providing a solid alibi, leading to dismissal of the charges.
How would you verify an alibi?
At Black Swan, we are experts in creating timelines. We can use photos, calls, texts and messages to show where you were and when you were there. If you say you were not around, we can prove it with solid evidence of where you actually were. We can use all this information to fill in the blank spots in your story. Coupled with outside evidence, we can prove, beyond a doubt, where you were and when you were there using your #DigitalDNA.
Why don't you offer full Private Investigator services?
As I have often said, we specialize in digital forensics. We do not handle matters outside of this realm. A licensed investigator should be your go-to for these services, just as Black Swan should be your source for digital data extractions. We are specialists, not generalists. If we tried to expand to full PI services, we would not be able to provide the expertise for which we pride ourselves.
Can I afford a digital forensics expert?
You can’t NOT afford a digital forensics expert. The case in which you are involved is the most important thing in your life. Do not leave it to chance. We offer multiple packages and solutions to meet any budget. We will work with you to provide what you need at a price you can accept. Do not let the fear of expense change the course of your life.
What is the Definition of a Black Swan Event?
- The event is a surprise (to the observer).
- The event has a major effect.
- After the first recorded instance of the event, it is rationalized by hindsight, as if it could have been expected; that is, the relevant data were available but unaccounted for in risk mitigation programs. The same is true for the personal perception by individuals.