Forensic analysis of social networking applications on an android smartphone

Anoshia Menahil, Waseem Iqbal, Mohsin Iftikhar, Waleed Bin Shahid, Khwaja Mansoor, Saddaf Rubab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
78 Downloads (Pure)


Smartphone users spend a substantial amount of time in browsing, emailing, and messaging through different social networking apps. The use of social networking apps on smartphones has become a dominating part of daily lives. This momentous usage has also resulted in a huge spike in cybercrimes such as social harassing, abusive messages, vicious threats, broadcasting of suicidal actions, and live coverage of violent attacks. Many of such crimes are carried out through social networking apps; therefore, the forensic analysis of allegedly involved digital devices in crime scenes and social apps installed on them can be helpful in resolving criminal investigations. This research is aimed at performing forensic investigation of five social networking apps, i.e., Instagram, LINE, Whisper, WeChat, and Wickr on Android smart phones. The essential motivation behind the examination and tests is to find whether the data resides within the internal storage of the device or not after using these social networking apps. Data extraction and analysis are carried out using three tools, i.e., Magnet AXIOM, XRY, and Autopsy. From the results of these experiments, a considerable amount of essential data was successfully extracted from the examined smartphone. This useful data can easily be recovered by forensic analysts for future examination of any crime situation. Finally, we analyzed the tools on the basis of their ability to extract digital evidences from the device and their performance are examined with respect to NIST standards.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5567592
Pages (from-to)1-36
Number of pages36
JournalWireless Communications and Mobile Computing
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2021


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