Saturday, 13 August 2016

Google S2 Mapping Scripts

Sorry Monkey - there is just no point to mapping jokes ...

Cindy Murphy's recent forensic forays into Pokemon Go (here and here)
 have inspired further monkey research into the Google S2 Mapping library. The S2 library is also used by Uber, Foursquare and Google (presumably) for mapping location data. So it would probably be useful to recognise and/or translate any S2 encoded location artifacts we might come across in our forensic travels eh? *repeats in whispered voice* travels ...
After a brief introduction to how S2 represents lat/long data, we will demonstrate a couple of multi-platform (Windows/Linux) Python conversion scripts for decoding/encoding S2 locations (using sidewalklabs' s2sphere library).

S2 Mapping (In Theory)

The main resources for this section were:
The TLDR - its possible to convert a latitude/longitude from a sphere into a 64 bit integer. The resultant 64 bit integer is known as a cellid.
But how do we calculate this 64 bit cellid? This is achieved by projecting our spherical point (lat, long) onto one of 6 faces of an enclosing cube and then using a Hilbert curve function to specify a grid location for a specified cell size. Points along the Hilbert curve that are close to each other in value, are also spatially close to one another. This diagram from Christian's blog post better illustrates the point:

Points close to each other on the Hilbert curve have similar values. Source: Christian Perone's Blog

In the above diagram, the Hilbert curve (darker gray line) goes from the bottom LHS to the bottom RHS (or vice versa). Each grid box contains one of those Y-shaped patterns. The scale at the bottom represents the curve if it was straightened out like a piece of string.
If you now imagine the grid becoming finer/smaller but still requiring one Y-shape per box, you can see how a smaller cell grid size requires a finer resolution for points on the curve. So the smaller the cell/grid size, the higher the number of bits required to store the position. For example, a level 2 cell size only needs 4 bits where as the maximum level 30 requires 60 bits. Level 30 cell sizes are approximately 0.48-0.93 square centimetres in size depending on the lat/long.

Fun fact: Uber apparently uses a level 12 cell size (approx. 3.3 to 6.4 square kilometres per cell). 
Second fun fact: The Metric system has been around for over 100 years so stop whining about all the metric measurements already *looks over sternly at the last of the Imperial Guards in the United States, Myanmar and Liberia*.

Ahem ... so here's what a level 30 cellid looks like:

Level 30 cellid structure. Source: Octavian Procopiuc's GoogleDoc

The first 3 bits represent which face of the enclosing cube to use and the remaining 60 bits are used to store the position on the Hilbert curve. Note: The last bit is set to 1 to mark the end of the Hilbert positioning bits.

When cellids are converted into hexadecimal and have their least significant zeroes removed (if present), they are in their shortened "token" form.
eg1 cellid = 10743750136202470315 (decimal) has a token id = 0x951977D377E723AB
eg2 cellid = 9801614157982728192 (decimal) = 0x8806542540000000. The 16 hex digits can then be shortened to a token value of "880654254". To convert back to the original hex number, we keep adding least significant zeroes to "880654254" until its 16 digits long (ie 64 bits).
Analysts should anticipate seeing either cellids or token ids. These might be in plaintext (eg JSON) or may be in an SQLite database.

Note: Windows Calculator sucks at handling large unsigned 64 bit numbers. According to this, its limited between -9,223,372,036,854,775,808 and 9,223,372,036,854,775,807. So a number like 10,743,750,136,202,470,315 made it return an incorrect hex representation after conversion.
This monkey spun his paws for a while trying to figure out why the token conversions didn't seem to make sense. The FFs Solution - use the Ubuntu Calculator for hex conversions of 64 bit integers instead.

The Scripts

Two Python 2.7+ scripts were written to handle S2 conversions and are available from my GitHub here. They have been tested on both Windows 7 running Python 2.7.12 and Ubuntu x64 14.04 running Python 2.7.6. converts lat, long and cellid level to a 64 bit Google S2 cellid. converts a 64 bit Google S2 cellid to a lat, long and S2 cellid level.

IMPORTANT: These scripts rely on the third-party s2sphere Python library. Users can install it via:
pip install s2sphere
(on Windows) and:
sudo pip install s2sphere
(on Ubuntu)

Here's the help text for
python -h
Running v2016-08-12

usage: [-h] llat llong level

Converts lat, long and cellid level to a 64 bit Google S2 cellid

positional arguments:
  llat        Latitude in decimal degrees
  llong       Latitude in decimal degrees
  level       S2 cell level

optional arguments:
  -h, --help  show this help message and exit

Here's the help text for
python -h
Running v2016-08-12

usage: [-h] cellid

Convert a 64 bit Google S2 cellid to a lat, long and S2 cellid level

positional arguments:
  cellid      Google S2 cellid

optional arguments:
  -h, --help  show this help message and exit


A handy online S2map visualizer was written by David Blackman - the Lead Geo Engineer at Foursquare (and formerly of Google ie he knows his maps). See also the Readme here. S2map also has several other mapping dropbox options besides the default "OSM Light". These include "Mapbox Satellite" which projects the cellid onto an aerial view.

We start our tests by going to GoogleMaps and noting the lat, long of an intersection in Las Vegas.

Pick a spot! Any spot!

We then specify that lat, long as input into the script (with level set to 24):
python 36.114574 -115.180628 24
Running v2016-08-12

S2 cellid = 9279882692622716928

We then put that cellid into

Level 24 test cellid plotted on

Note: The red arrow was added by monkey to better show the plotted cellid (its tiny).
So we can see that our gets us pretty close to where we originally specified on GoogleMaps.

What happens if we keep the same lat, long coordinates but decrease the level of the cellid from 24 to 12?
python 36.114574 -115.180628 12
Running v2016-08-12

S2 cellid = 9279882742634381312

Obviously this is a different cellid because its set at a different level, but just how far away is the plotted level 12 cellid now?

Level 12 test cellid plotted on

Whoa! The cell accuracy has just decreased a bunch. It appears the center of this cellid is completely different to the position we originally set in GoogleMaps. It is now centred on the Bellagio instead of the intersection. This is presumably because the cell size is now larger and the center point of the cell has moved accordingly.

To confirm these findings, we take our level 24 cellid 9279882692622716928 and use it with

python 9279882692622716928
Running v2016-08-12

S2 Level = 24
36.114574473973924 , -115.18062802526205

We then plot those coordinates on GoogleMaps ...

Level 24 test cellid 9279882692622716928 plotted on GoogleMaps via

ie Our script seems to work OK for level 24.

Here's what it looks like when we use the level 12 cellid 9279882742634381312:
python 9279882742634381312
Running v2016-08-12

S2 Level = 12
36.11195989469266 , -115.17705862118852

Level 12 test cellid 9279882742634381312 plotted on GoogleMaps via

This seems to confirm the results from For the same lat, long, changing the cellid level can significantly affect the returned (centre) lat, long.

We also tested our scripts against with a handful of other cellids and lat/long/levels and they seemed consistent. Obviously time contraints will not let us test every possible point.

Final Thoughts

Using the s2sphere library, we were able to create a Python script to convert a lat, long and level to an S2 cellid ( We also created another script to convert a S2 cellid to a lat, long and level (
The higher the cellid level, the more accurate the location. You can find the cellid level by using the script.
Plotting a cellid with is the easiest way of visualizing the cellid boundary on a map. Higher levels (>24) become effectively invisible however.

To locate potential S2 cellids we can use search terms like "cellid" or variations such as "cellid=". If its stored in plaintext (eg JSON), those search terms should find it. No such luck if its encrypted or stored as a binary integer though.

While there are other S2 Python libraries, this Monkey decided to use sidewalklabs s2sphere library based on its available documentation and pain-free cross platform support (pip install is supported).

Other Google S2 Python libraries include:
(As demonstrated in Christian's blog and also used in the Gillware Pokemon script. This seems to be Linux only)
(Has the comment: "Needs to be packaged properly for use with PIP")

Some other interesting background stuff ...
Interview article with David Blackman (Foursquare)

Matt Ranney's (Chief Systems Architect at Uber) video presentation on "Scaling Uber's Real-time Market Platform" (see 18:15 mark for S2 content)

Uber uses drivers phone as a backup data source (claims its encrypted)

In the end, creating the Python conversion scripts was surprisingly straight forward and only required a few lines of code.
It will be interesting to see how many apps leave Google S2 cellid artifacts behind (hopefully ones with a high cellid level). Hopefully these scripts will prove useful when looking for location artifacts. eg when an analyst finds a cellid/token and wants to map it to a lat/long or when an analyst wants to calculate a cellid/token for a specific lat, long, level.

Friday, 29 July 2016

A Timestamp Seeking Monkey Dives Into Android Gallery Imgcache

Are you sure?! Those waters look pretty turdy ...
UPDATE 4AUG2016: Added video thumbnail imgcache findings and modified version of script for binary timestamps.

Did you know that an Android device can cache images previously viewed with the stock Gallery3D app?
These cached images can occur in multiple locations throughout the cache files. Their apparent purpose is to speed up Gallery loading times.
If a user views an image and then deletes the original picture, an analyst may still be able to recover a copy of the viewed image from the cache. Admittedly, the cached images will not be as high a quality as the original, but they can still be surprisingly detailed. And if the pictures no longer exist elsewhere on the filesystem - "That'll do monkey, that'll do ..."

The WeAre4n6 blog has already documented their observations about Android imgcache here.
So why are we re-visiting this?
We were asked to see if there was any additional timestamp or ordering information in the cached pictures. If a device camera picture only exists in the Gallery cache, it won't have the typical YYYYMMDD_HHMMSS.JPG filename. Instead, it will be embedded in a cache file with a proprietary structure and will need to be carved out. These embedded cached JPGs do not have any embedded metadata (eg EXIF).
An unnamed commercial phone forensics tool will carve the cached pictures out but it currently does not extract any timestamp information.

Smells like an opportunity for some monkey style R&D eh?
Or was that just Papa Monkey's flatulence striking again? An all banana diet can be so bittersweet :D

Special Thanks to:
- Terry Olson for posting this question about the Gallery3D imgcache on the Forensic Focus Forum and then kindly sharing a research document detailing some imgcache structures.
- Jason Eddy and Jeremy Dupuis who Terry acknowledged as the source of the research document.
- LSB and Rob (@TheHexNinja) for their help and advice in researching the imgcache.
- Cindy Murphy (@CindyMurph) for sharing her recollections of a case involving imgcache and listening to this monkey crap on.
- JoAnn Gibb for her suggestions and also listening to this monkey crap on.

Our main test devices were a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (SM-910G) and a Galaxy Note 4 Edge (SM-915G) both running Android 5.1.1.

Our initial focus was the following cache file:

After an image is viewed fullscreen in the Gallery app, imgcache.0 appears to be populated with the viewed picture plus six (sometimes less) other images. It is suspected the other cached pictures are chosen based on the display order of the parent gallery and will be taken from before/after the viewed image. If a picture is found in this cache file, it is likely that the user would have seen it (either from the parent gallery view or when they viewed it fullscreen).
From our testing, this file contains the largest sized cached images. From the filesystem last modified times and file sizes, it is suspected that when the imgcache.0 file reaches a certain size, it gets renamed to imgcache.1 and newly viewed images then start populating imagecache.0.  Due to time constraints, we did not test for this rollover behaviour. By default, the initial imgcache.0 and imgcache.1 files appear to be 4 bytes long.

Also in the directory were mini.0 and micro.0 cache files which contained smaller cached images. Similarly to imgcache.0, these files also had  .1 files.

mini.0 contains the smallest sized, square clipped, thumbnail versions of the cached images. They appear to be similar to the images displayed from the Gallery preview list that is shown when the user long presses on a fullscreen viewed Gallery image.

micro.0 contains non-clipped images which are smaller versions of the images in imgcache.0 but larger in size than the images in mini.0. These appear to be populated when the user views a gallery of pictures. Launching the Gallery app can be enough to populate this cache (likely depends on the default Gallery app view setting).

imgcache.0 has been observed to contain a different number of images to mini.0 or micro.0. It is suspected this is due to how the images were viewed/previewed from within the Gallery app.

Other files were observed in the cache directory but their purpose remains unknown. eg imgcache.idx, micro.idx, mini.idx were all compromised mainly of zeroed data.

A device video was also created/saved on the test device and displayed via the Gallery app. A corresponding video thumbnail was consequently cached in the imgcache.0, mini.0 and micro.0 files. These video cache records were written in a slightly different format to the picture cache records.

The imgcache structure

Based on the supplied research document and test device observations, here's the record structure we observed for each Galaxy Note 4 “imgcache.0” picture record:
  • Record Size (4 Byte LE Integer) = Size in bytes from start of this field until just after the end of the JPG
  • Item Path String (UTF16-LE String) = eg /local/image/item/
  • Index Number (UTF16-LE String) =  eg 44
  • + separator (UTF16-LE String) = eg +
  • Unix Timestamp Seconds (UTF16-LE String) = eg 1469075274
  • + separator (UTF16-LE String) = eg +
  • Unknown Number String (UTF16-LE String) = eg 1
  • Cached JPG (Binary) = starts with 0xFFD8 ... ends with 0xFFD9
The cached JPG is a smaller version of the original picture.
The Unix Timestamp Seconds is referenced to UTC and should be adjusted for local time. We can use a program like DCode to translate it into a human readable format (eg 1469075274 = Thu, 21 July 2016 04:27:54. UTC).
The Index Number seems to increase for each new picture added to the cache and may help determine the order in which the picture was viewed.

There are typically 19 bytes between each imgcache.0 record. However, the first record in imgcache.0 usually has 20 bytes before the first record’s 4 byte Record Size.
The record structure shown above was also observed to be re-used in the “micro” and “mini” cache files.

Here's the record structure we observed for each Galaxy Note 4 “imgcache.0” video thumbnail record:

  •     Record Size (4 Byte LE Integer) = Size in bytes from start of this field until just after the end of the JPG
  •     Item Path String (UTF16-LE String) = eg /local/video/item/
  •     Index Number (UTF16-LE String) =  eg 44
  •     + separator (UTF16-LE String) = eg +
  •     Unix Timestamp Milliseconds (UTF16-LE String) = eg 1469075274000
  •     + separator (UTF16-LE String) = eg +
  •     Unknown Number String (UTF16-LE String) = eg 1
  •     Cached JPG (Binary) = starts with 0xFFD8 ... ends with 0xFFD9

The Unix Timestamp Milliseconds is referenced to UTC and should be adjusted for local time. We can use a program like DCode to translate it into a human readable format (eg 1469075274000 = Thu, 21 July 2016 04:27:54. UTC).

The item path string format did not appear to vary for a picture/video saved to the SD card versus internal phone memory.

The Samsung Note 4 file format documented above was NOT identical with other sample test devices including a Moto G (XT1033), a Samsung Galaxy Core Prime (SM-G360G) and a Samsung J1 (SM-J100Y).
The Moto G’s Gallery app cache record size did not include itself (ie 4 bytes smaller) and the Galaxy Core Prime / J1’s Gallery app cache record did not utilize a UTF16LE timestamp string. Instead, it used a LE 8 byte integer representing the Unix timestamp in milliseconds (for BOTH picture and video imgcache records). This was written between the end of the path string and the start of the cached JPG’s 0xFFxD8.
These differences imply that a scripted solution will probably require modifications on a per device/per app basis.

As a result of this testing, a second script ( was written to parse Galaxy S4 (GT-i9505)/ Galaxy Core Prime / J1 imgcache files which appear to share the same imgcache record structures. Please refer to the initial comments section of the script for a full description of that imgcache structure. This modified script will take the same input arguments as the original script described in the next section.


A Python 2 script ( was written to extract JPGs from “imgcache”, “micro” and “mini” cache files to the same directory as the script.

The script searches the given cache file (eg imgcache.0) for the UTF16LE encoded "/local/image/item/" and/or “/local/video/item/” strings, finds the record size and then extracts the record's embedded JPG to a separate file. The script also outputs an HTML table containing the extracted JPGs and various metadata.

An example HTML output table looks like:

Example HTML output table for picture imgcache records

Example HTML output table entry for a video imgcache record

The extracted JPG filename is constructed as follows:


The script also calculates the MD5 hash for each JPG (allowing for easier detection of duplicate images) and prints the filesize and the complete item path string.
Each HTML table record entry is printed in the same order as it appears in the input cache file. That is, the top row represents the first cache record and the bottom row represents the last cache record.

The script was validated with Android 5.1.1 and the Gallery3d app v2.0.8131802.
You can download it from my Github site here.

Here is the help for the script:
Running v2016-08-02

Usage: -f inputfile -o outputfile

  -h, --help   show this help message and exit
  -f FILENAME  imgcache file to be searched
  -o HTMLFILE  HTML table File
  -p           Parse cached picture only (do not use in conjunction with -v)
  -v           Parse cached video thumbnails only (do not use in conjunction with -p)

Here is an example of how to run the script (from Windows command line with the Python 2.7 default install). This will process/extract BOTH pictures and video cache records (default):

C:\Python27\python.exe -f imgcache.0 -o opimg0.html
Running v2016-08-02

Paths found = 14

/local/image/item/44+1469075274+1 from offset = 0X18
JPG output size(bytes) = 28968 from offset = 0X5A

/local/image/item/43+1469073536+1 from offset = 0X7199
JPG output size(bytes) = 75324 from offset = 0X71DB

/local/image/item/41+1469054648+1 from offset = 0X1982E
JPG output size(bytes) = 33245 from offset = 0X19870

/local/image/item/40+1469051675+1 from offset = 0X21A64
JPG output size(bytes) = 40744 from offset = 0X21AA6

/local/image/item/39+1469051662+1 from offset = 0X2B9E5
JPG output size(bytes) = 30698 from offset = 0X2BA27

/local/video/item/38+1469051577796+1 from offset = 0X33228
JPG output size(bytes) = 34931 from offset = 0X33270

/local/image/item/37+1469051566+1 from offset = 0X3BAFA
JPG output size(bytes) = 28460 from offset = 0X3BB3C

/local/image/item/27+1390351440+1 from offset = 0X42A7F
JPG output size(bytes) = 97542 from offset = 0X42AC1

/local/image/item/28+1390351440+1 from offset = 0X5A7DE
JPG output size(bytes) = 122922 from offset = 0X5A820

/local/image/item/29+1390351440+1 from offset = 0X78861
JPG output size(bytes) = 127713 from offset = 0X788A3

/local/image/item/30+1390351440+1 from offset = 0X97B9B
JPG output size(bytes) = 97100 from offset = 0X97BDD

/local/image/item/31+1390351440+1 from offset = 0XAF740
JPG output size(bytes) = 66576 from offset = 0XAF782

/local/image/item/32+1390351440+1 from offset = 0XBFBA9
JPG output size(bytes) = 34746 from offset = 0XBFBEB

/local/image/item/33+1390351440+1 from offset = 0XC83BC
JPG output size(bytes) = 26865 from offset = 0XC83FE

Processed 14 cached pictures. Exiting ...

The above example output also printed the HTML table we saw previously.
Some further command line examples:
C:\Python27\python.exe -f imgcache.0 -o output.html -p
(will parse/output picture cache items ONLY)

C:\Python27\python.exe -f imgcache.0 -o output.html -v
(will parse/output video thumbnail cache items ONLY)


During testing of the Gallery app - device camera pictures, a screenshot and a picture saved from an Internet browser were viewed. Cached copies of these pictures were subsequently observed in the “imgcache.0”, “mini.0” and “micro.0” cache files.
From our testing, the Unix timestamp represents when the picture was taken/saved rather than the time it was browsed in the Gallery app.
This was tested for by taking camera picture 1 on the device, waiting one minute, then taking picture 2. We then waited another minute before viewing picture 1 in the Gallery app, waiting one minute and then viewing picture 2.
Running the script and viewing the resultant output HTML table confirmed that the timestamp strings reflect the original picture’s created time and not the Gallery viewed time. The HTML table also displayed the order of the imgcache.0 file - picture 1 was written first, then picture 2.
We then cleared the Gallery app cache and viewed picture 2 in the Gallery app followed by picture 1.
Running the script again and viewing the resultant output HTML table displayed the order of the imgcache.0 file. Picture 2 was written first, then picture 1.

A device video was also created (20160802_155401.mp4), uploaded to Dropbox (via app v2.4.4.8) and then downloaded and viewed in the Gallery app. The imgcache.0 record timestamp for the created video (1470117241703 = 05:54:01) differed to the imgcache.0 timestamp for the downloaded video (1470117253000 = 05:54:13). This difference of approximately 12 seconds was slightly longer than the 11 second video duration.
It is suspected that the created video’s imgcache timestamp represents when the original video was first being written and the downloaded video’s imgcache timestamp represents when the original video was finalised to the filesystem.
The video thumbnails displayed in the Gallery app and imgcache for each video were also different. The downloaded video thumbnail appeared to be from approximately 1 second into the video. The created video thumbnail seemed to be the first frame of the video. The MD5 hashes of both video files were identical.

As per LSB's helpful suggestion, rather than take a full image of the test phone for each acquisition of cache files, we plugged our test device into a PC and used Windows Explorer to browse to the Phone\Android\data\\cache folder and copy the cache files to our PC. This saved a significant amount of imaging time. To minimize any synchronization issues, the phone should be unplugged/re-plugged between file copies.

Final Thoughts

Depending on the device, it may be possible to determine the created timestamp of a picture viewed and cached from the Android Gallery app. The Gallery cache may also include pictures which are no longer available elsewhere on the device.
A Python script ( was created to extract various metadata and the cached images from a Samsung Note 4 Gallery app’s (imgcache, micro and mini) cache files.
UPDATE 4AUG2016:A modified version of this script ( was also created to handle binary timestamps as observed on Galaxy S4 / J1 / Core Prime sample devices.

It is STRONGLY recommended that analysts validate their own device/app version combinations before running these scripts. Your mileage will vary!
For example, take a picture using the device camera and validate its YYYYMMDD_HHMMSS.JPG filename/metadata against the timestamp in the item path (if its there).
For case data, look for device images with date/time information in them (eg pictures of newspapers, receipts etc. or device screenshots) to increase the confidence level in extracted timestamps.

The Gallery app was not present in various Android 6.0 test devices that we looked at. It may have been usurped by the Google Photos app. However, we have seen the Gallery app on Android 5 and Android 4 devices which would still make up the majority of devices currently out there.

Monkey doesn't have the time/inclination but further areas of research could be:
- Decompiling the Gallery .apk and inspecting the Java code.
- Rollover functionality of the cache files (eg confirm how imgcache.1 get populated).
- Why there can be multiple copies of the same image (with same MD5) appearing at multiple offsets within the same imgcache file.
- Determining how the cache record index number is being calculated.
- Determining the “imgcache.idx”, “micro.idx”, “mini.idx” files purpose.

Anyhoo, it would be great to hear from you in the comments section (or via email) if you end up using these scripts for an actual case. Or if you have any further observations to add (don't forget to state your Android version and device please).

Sorry, but for mental health reasons I will NOT recover your dick pics for you. ie Requests for personal image recovery will be ignored. If you Google for "JPG file carver", you should find some programs that can help you recover/re-live those glorious tumescent moments.

Can you tell how working in forensics has affected my world view? ;)

Monday, 4 July 2016

Panel Beaten Monkey

FYI: A "Panel Beater" = Auto body mechanic in Monkeytown-ese
This Monkey was recently invited to shit himself sit on a SANS DFIR Summit panel discussing Innovation in Mobile Forensics with an All-Star cast of Andrew Hoog, Heather Mahalik, Cindy Murphy and Chris Crowley. While it rated well with the audience, personally (because its all about THIS monkey!) - it seemed that whenever I thought of something relevant, another panel member chirped up with a similar idea and/or the discussion moved on to the next question.
I felt it was kinda difficult to contribute something meaningful yet concise in a 30 second sound bite. Especially for my first open question speaking gig.
Monkey might need to decrease his deferential politeness and/or increase his use of assertive poo flinging in future panel discussions. Alternative suggestions are also welcome in the comments :)

Here's the synopsis of the panel from the DFIR Summit Program ...
Puzzle Solving and Science: The Secret Sauce of Innovation in Mobile Forensics
In today’s world, technology (especially mobile device technology) moves at a much faster pace than any of us can keep up with, and available training and research doesn’t always address the problems we encounter. As forensic examiners we face the daily challenges of new apps, new, updated and obscure operating systems, malware, secure apps, pass code and password protected phones, encoding and encryption problems, new artifacts, and broken hardware in order to obtain the evidence we need in a legally defensible and forensically sound manner.  In this session, learn from consistent and experienced innovators in the mobile forensics field the tips, tricks, and mindset that they bring to bear on the toughest problems and how to move beyond cookie cutter forensics towards an approach that allows you to successfully solve and own problems others might consider too hard to even try.

Anyhoo, the initial concept was to have several one word themed slides and discuss how these traits can help with innovation in mobile forensics.
Due to a panel format change, the original slides didn't get much play time so monkey thought he'd run through them now and present his thoughts with a focus on advice for those newer to mobile forensics. Some of the points made here may have been mentioned during the panel by other speakers but at least here I have time to elaborate and present my point of view. Bonus huh?

Now let's meet the panel ... Can you tell that we went for a superhero introductory theme?

Heather Mahalik!

Cindy Murphy!

Chris Crowley!

Andrew Hoog!

 And now onto the rest of the slides ...


This is what attracts most of us to forensics. How does "Stuff" work and given a set of resultant data, how can we reconstruct what happened?
Documenting your curiosity (via blog post, white paper, journal article) is a great way of both sharing knowledge with the community and demonstrating your ability to research and think independently.
In mobile forensics, curiosity will usually lead to hex diving especially when hunting for new artifacts.
Curiosity naturally leads to "Squirrel chasing" where one interesting artifact can lead you to many others. So you might start out with one focus and end up discovering a bunch of cool artifacts.


Our ability to create solutions depends on our paint set. The wider array of skills you have as a mobile forensic examiner, the more creative you can be - especially as mobile devices are a combination of both hardware and software.
For inspiration, background knowledge and anticipating future trends, read research papers, blogs, books, patents, mobile device service manuals/schematics and industry standards (eg eMMC JEDEC standard). Knowing the background details today will help you analyze tomorrow's device.
Start with a popular make/model and learn how a device works. Go to and the FCC website for pictures of device breakdowns. Read up on how eMMC Flash memory devices work. You don't have to be able to MacGyver a mobile device on a desert island but familiarize yourself with the fundamental concepts (eg eMMC memory has a NAND Controller acting as the interface to the actual NAND memory).
Look at how an SQLite database is structured. Most apps rely on these types of databases to store their data. The official website is a great place to start.
Develop/practise skills in soldering, chipoff, network forensics, malware reverse engineering, scripting for artifacts.
Know how to find/make/use automated tools. Tools can be used as intended/documented (eg NetworkMiner to read .pcaps) or in more novel ways (eg use an Android emulator to create app artifacts and save on rooting test devices/acquisition time).

Scientific Method

As mobile devices change (use of devices, underlying hardware, encryption, new apps/OS artifacts) we need to be able to record our observations in a structured, repeatable way and be able to communicate our findings to others.
The best way is to create your own data on a test device using a documented set of known actions. As Adam Savage from Mythbusters says: "Remember, kids, the only difference between screwing around and science is writing it down".
Also, as Mari Degrazia (and Meoware Kitty) showed us at the DFIR Summit, you should also "Trust But Verify" your tools.


Don't let failure discourage you if/when it comes.
You may need to use a different technique or change your assumptions. Or wait for new developments by someone else and revisit.
There may be more than one solution. Evaluate which is better or worse. The faster method is not always the most comprehensive.
You are not alone. Chances are someone else in the community may have the keys to your problem. Ask around Twitter, forensic forums and your professional network.


No one monkey knows ALL THE THINGS.
I find it helpful to email a trusted group of mobile forensic gurus and describe what I am seeing. Even if they are not able to help directly, it forces me to structure my thinking and help me question my approach.
Having a trusted group you can bounce ideas/findings off helps both yourself and potentially everyone in the group who may not have the time to otherwise investigate. The increased pool of experience and potential access to more varied test data are added bonuses as well. There is also an inherent double checking of your analysis.
Communicate your ideas often. Even if you start feeling like a spam monkey, realize that people can come up with amazing ideas/suggestions when prompted with the right stimulus.
Share your innovation with the community - they may be able to help you improve it and/or adapt it for another purpose that you never would have thought of.

Choose your team wisely though. There are some "One way transaction" types who you can help and then never hear from again. Be aware that it is a small community and word does get around about potential time wasters/bullshitters. 
Alternatively, you might be contacted by some rude farker after some free advice/labour - eg "You seem like you know what you are doing. Here's my problem ..."
Realize that being polite/considerate goes a long way to building the required level of trust. Recognize that you are probably asking someone to give up their free time for your cause.
Give team mates a default "opt out" of receiving your spam. For example, "If you wish to keep receiving these types of emails, please let me know. Otherwise, Thankyou for your time." and if you don't hear back, stop sending shit. Most people in forensics will be keen to discover new artifacts/research but be sure to try to organize your thoughts before hitting send.

Manage people's expectations. If you don't know or are not sure - it is better to under promise and over deliver later. Don't feel bad about saying "I don't know" or "I'm currently working on other things and don't have the time right now".


I believe that you can make your own "Luck" through being prepared when the opportunity presents itself.
For example, I had difficulties landing a forensics job after finishing my graduate studies in Forensic Computing. The market here in Monkeytown was relatively small compared to the US.
Through personal research projects that I blogged about and multiple US internships, I was able to land a rare and Monkeytown based forensic research dream job for which I am still counting my blessings. Having a documented prior body of work helped make the recruitment process so much easier (it also helped that there were technical people in charge of the recruiting).
Pure forensic research jobs seem to be rare in this industry - most positions seems to require a significant element of case work/billable hours. So I really appreciate the ability to pick an area or device and "research the shit out out of it".

On the other hand, occasionally in a case, you can have some plain old good fortune such as when Cindy Murphy and I were looking at a Windows Phone 8 device and we found an SMS stating "Da Code is ..." (which ended up being the PIN code for the phone).


I just included this slide because I think it was one of my better 'toons in the slide deck :)

Final Thoughts

Physical fitness and rest are also important factors in staying creative. In the past, I've had some difficulties sleeping which obviously had an adverse affect on my work. A light regimen of regular exercise (15 minutes x 3 times per week) on the stationary bike has worked wonders on my tiredness levels and aerobic fitness. The paunch still remains a work in progress however ;)
For those interested, check out Dr Michael Mosely and Peta Bee's excellent research book on High Intensity Training (HIT) called FastExercise. It shows how you don't have to spend a huge amount of time at the gym to start seeing some immediate health benefits.

So long as you remain committed to learning, the innovation will come. Don't sweat about the non creative periods.

Learning to script is a good way of forcing you to understand how data is stored at the binary level. Python is a popular choice in forensics for its readability, many existing code libraries and large user base.

A library of "most likely to be encountered" test devices can help you to create before/after reference data sets to validate your research. These may be sourced privately from online (eg eBay) or from previous cases.

When public speaking, I have to learn to project my voice more. Elgin from the SANS AV crew kindly took the time after the panel to advise me to speak more from the diaphragm in the future. Concrete feedback like this is the best way to improve my speaking ability. Having said that, maybe monkey also needs to dose up on the caffeine before the next panel so he can react quicker/with more urgency. I'm guessing experience is the best teacher though.

The 2016 SANS DFIR Summit Presentation Slides are now available from here. Get them while they're hot!

Special Thanks to Jennifer Santiago (Director of Content Development & SANS Summit Speaker Wrangler) for her patience in dealing with this first time speaker/panellist.
Special Thanks also to my fellow panellists Andrew, Chris, Cindy and Heather for welcoming this monkey as a peer rather than a curiosity.

Not to get all heavy and philosophical on you but I found this quote that pretty much sums up my thoughts on innovation. It is from Nguyen Quyen who apparently was a Vietnamese Anti-French Colonist from the early part of the 20th Century. Ain't Google great?

"Successful innovation is not a single breakthrough. It is not a sprint. It is not an event for the solo runner. Successful innovation is a team sport, it's a relay race."

Good luck quoting that on a panel and not sounding like a complete wanker though ;)

If anyone has some suggestions for how I can improve my panel talking skills or would like to share some tips on innovation in mobile forensics, please leave a comment. Thanks!

Sunday, 15 May 2016

The Chimp That Pimps And An Introduction to e.MMC Flash Memory Forensics

Pimpin Ain't Easy?

SANS is offering the top 3 referrers to its DFIR Summit 2016 website, an Amazon Echo smart speaker.
As of 11 May 2016, this Chimpy McPimpy was number 5 on the list.
Chimpy would very much like to win an Echo (echo, echo) so he can take it apart and share what forensic artifacts are left on the device.

The Echo is a smart speaker that can listen out for voice commands, play music, search the Internet and control Internet Of Shitty Things. Apparently, more than 3 million have been sold in the US since 2014.

Here's a (pretty meh) Superbowl commercial demonstrating some of the Echo's capabilities:

And here's the Wikipedia entry for the Amazon Echo just so monkey doesn't have to regurgitate any further (I already have enough body image issues).

The folks at Champlain College have also recently blogged about their Amazon Echo forensic research (here, here and here).
They have a report due out this month (May 2016).
From what this monkey can ascertain, their research focuses on network captures and the Amazon Echo Android App side of things. They also mentioned looking into "chipping off" the device but I'm not sure if this was a core part of their research as it wasn't mentioned in later posts.

So Monkey is proposing this - (if you haven't already) please follow this link to the SANS DFIR Summit website and if monkey manages to win an Amazon Echo, he will blog about getting to that sweet, sweet, echoey data from the internal Flash memory. See here  and here  for some background on Flash memory.

How do we know it uses Flash memory?
The awesome folks at have already performed a teardown which you can see here.

From's picture of the logic board (below), we notice the Flash memory component bearing the text SanDisk SDIN7DP2-4G (highlighted in yellow).

Amazon Echo's Logic board

Searching for the Flash storage component(s) on most devices (eg phones, tablets, GPS, answering machines, voice recorders) starts with Googling the various integrated circuit (IC) chip identifiers. The Flash memory component is normally located adjacent to the CPU (minimizes interference/timing issues).
In this case, the peeps have helpfully identified/provided a link to the 4 GB SanDisk Flash memory chip.
But if we didn't have that link, we would try Googling for "SanDisk SDIN7DP2-4G" and/or "SanDisk SDIN7DP2-4G +datasheet" to find out what type of IC it was.
According to this link - for the 4th quarter of 2015, Samsung's NAND revenue (33.8%) led Toshiba (18.6%), SanDisk (15.8%), Micron (13.9%), SK Hynix (10.1%) and Intel (8%). Other (smaller) manufacturers such as Phison, Sony, Spansion were not mentioned. Not sure how accurate these figures are but if you see one of these manufacturers logos/name on a chip, you have probably found a NAND memory chip of some kind (eg Flash, RAM).

Anyhoo, from the link that provided we can see the following text:
SDIN7DP2-4G,153FBGA 11.5X13 e.MMC 4.51
Here's what it all means:
153 FBGA (Fine pitched, Ball Grid Array) means there are 153 pin pads arranged in a standard way.
The 11.5X13 refers to the chips dimensions in millimetres.
The e.MMC 4.51 tells us the chip adheres to the Embedded Multi-Media Card (e.MMC) standard (version 4.51) for NAND Flash chip interfacing. We will discuss the e.MMC standard a little further on.

To double check's data link, we did some Googling and found this link which seems to confirm from multiple sites that the SanDisk Flash chip is 153 FBGA and 11.5 x 13.
Ideally, we would have found the actual datasheet from SanDisk but sometimes you just gotta make do ...

It is also worth noting that not all Flash memory chips are e.MMC compatible. Some devices may use their own proprietary NAND interface. Some chips might be NOR Flash (eg Boot ROM) and thus not really relevant to our quest for user data.
Additionally, the latest Flash memory chips may follow a newer (faster, duplex) standard called Universal Flash Storage (UFS). See here for more details on UFS.
So while it appears the days of e.MMC chips are numbered, there's still a LOT of e.MMC storage devices out there that can be potentially read.

When reading Flash storage for forensics, some key considerations are:
- Does it follow the e.MMC standard?
- Chip pin arrangement (number of pins and spacing)
- Chip dimensions (typically in mm)

The e.MMC standard is used by Flash memory chip manufacturers to provide a common infrastructure / command set for communicating. This way a board manufacturer can (hopefully) substitute one brand of eMMC chip with another brand (probably cheaper) of the same capacity. The standard focuses on the external eMMC chip interfacing and not the internal NAND implementation (which would be manufacturer specific). Having a e.MMC Flash chip makes reading a whole lot easier.

But don't just listen to me, JEDEC - the folks responsible for the eMMC standard (and UFS), state :
"Designed for a wide range of applications in consumer electronics, mobile phones, handheld computers, navigational systems and other industrial uses, e.MMC is an embedded non-volatile memory system, comprised of both flash memory and a flash memory controller, which simplifies the application interface design and frees the host processor from low-level flash memory management. This benefits product developers by simplifying the non-volatile memory interface design and qualification process – resulting in a reduction in time-to-market as well as facilitating support for future flash device offerings. Small BGA package sizes and low power consumption make e.MMC a viable, low-cost memory solution for mobile and other space-constrained products."

To get a copy of the e.MMC standard (free registration required), check out this link.

The e.MMC standard document provides this helpful diagram:

JEDEC e.MMC Electrical Standard v5.1

From this we can see that a "Device controller" handles any interfacing with the actual NAND storage ("Memory Array"). This includes things like reading/writing to NAND, paging, TRIM, error correction, password protection.

There are 4 signals/pins required when reading an e.MMC memory:
- CLK = Synchronizes the signals between the e.MMC chip and the "Host Controller" (ie CPU of device)
- CMD = For issuing commands/receiving command replies from/to the "Host Controller"
- DATA0 = For receiving the data at the "Host Controller"
- VCC / VCCQ = Power for the NAND memory / Power to the Device Controller. In some cases, this can be the same voltage (1.8 V)
- GND / VSS = Ground

It is not a co-incidence that these connections are also required for In-System Programming (ISP) Forensics. But that is probably a topic more suitable for a Part 2 (hint, hint).

We can see these pins labelled in this ForensicsWiki diagram of a BGA 153 e.MMC chip
BGA-153 Layout

Note: ForensicsWiki have labelled it as BGA169 but it does not show the extra 16 (typically unused) pins. Count the number of pins (I dare you!) - there's only 153. At any rate, our target SanDisk chip should look like the BGA153 diagram above. Most of the pins are unused / irrelevant for our reading purposes.
The ever helpful GSMhosting site shows us what a full BGA 169 looks like:

BGA-169 Layout - the extra 16 pins comprise the 2 arcs above/below the concentric squares

Other pin arrangements we've seen include BGA162/186 and BGA/eMCP221. Some Flash chips are combined in the same package as the RAM. These are called eMCP (Multi-Chip Package).
Control-F Digital Forensics have blogged an example list which matches some common devices with their e.MMC pin arrangement/size. They also note that the pitch (spacing between pins) for the previously mentioned layouts is 0.5 mm.

So here's what BGA-162 looks like:

BGA-162 Layout (Source:

And a BGA/eMCP221 looks like:

BGA/e.MCP221 Layout (Source:

Final Thoughts

Due to e.MMC standardisation, reading the data off an e.MMC Flash chip should be straight forward and repeatable - which is great for forensics. Interpreting the subsequent data dump artifacts is usually a more challenging task.
The e.MMC Flash memory content discussed in this post applies equally to Smartphones, Tablets etc.

UPDATE: For even more details on Flash Memory Forensics, check out the following papers:
Forensic Data Recovery from Flash Memory

By Marcel Breeuwsma, Martien de Jongh, Coert Klaver, Ronald van der Knijff and Mark Roeloffs


Theory and practice of flash memory mobile forensics (2009)
By Salvatore Fiorillo
Edith Cowan University, Western Australia

The paper by Breeuwsma et al. is probably THE paper on Flash memory Forensics.

Please don't forget to click on this link so Monkey can get his Precious Amazon Echo. You might like to do it from a VM if you're worried about security.
If, for whatever reason, monkey doesn't get an Echo - it's no big deal. Just thought it would make for an interesting exercise as we head towards the Internet of Lazy Fatties ... At the very least, we have learnt more about performing e.MMC Flash memory forensics.

In other news, in June 2016, this monkey will be:
- Attending his first SANS DFIR Summit
- Speaking on a "Innovation in Mobile Forensics" panel with Cindy Murphy, Heather Mahalik , Andrew Hoog and Chris Crowley. Monkey is still pinching himself about joining the collective brain power of that panel *GULP*
- Facilitating/Rockin' the Red Apron for SANS FOR585 Advanced Smartphone Forensics with Cindy Murphy (just after the DFIR Summit)

So if you see me around (probably hiding behind/near Cindy or Mari DeGrazia), feel free to say hello and let us know if this blog site has helped you ... I promise I'll try not to fling too much shit (while you're facing me anyway. Hint: Keep eye contact at all times!).

As always, please feel free to leave feedback regarding this post in the comments section below.

Monday, 25 April 2016

An Initial Peep at Windows 10 Mobile (Lumia 435)

Ooh! Yeah, show me where you keep your store.vol you dirty winphone you!

At first glance, the Windows 10 Mobile GUI looks a lot like Windows Phone 8. This post will focus on some key mobile communication artifacts (Calls, Contacts, SMS, MMS, pictures/video) and hopefully excrete a few noteworthy nuggets (of information!) along the way.

Special Thanks to @TheHexNinja and our resident "Robotic Organic Soldering System" for their assistance in obtaining the test phone and data.
Unfortunately, as it is from a work phone, we cannot share the data (so please don't ask). However, if you have artifacts that you are researching, we may be able to check our limited data set to help confirm your findings.

We started with a lower priced 8 GB Nokia Lumia 435 Dual Sim (RM-1068) which came with Windows Phone 8.1 installed. We then updated to the latest version of Windows Phone 8.1 before upgrading to Windows 10 Mobile. A few days after upgrading, Microsoft released another Windows 10 Mobile update so we updated again to version 10.0.10586.218. The initial Win 10 upgrade process took 2-3 hours and seems to have left the previous Windows Phone 8.1 directories intact but with zero sized files (at least for the files it no longer seems to use).

After populating the phone with a troglodytic hermit's amount of test data, a chip off was performed and the data read into a binary image file.
FTK Imager (free) and X-Ways Forensics (commercial) were then used to view/browse the data.
OSForensics ESEDB Viewer (trial) and Nirsoft's ESEDatabaseView (free) programs were used to view ESE databases. Both of these were recently updated for handling Windows 10 ESE databases.
MS Calculator and DCode (free) were used to translate MS FILETIME values.

Similarly to Windows Phone 8, there were 27 partitions. The last 2 partitions were the only ones larger than 32 MB:
- MainOS [1543 MB]
- Data [5783 MB]
These partitions were formatted to use NTFS.

The phone was not encrypted by default. There is a Device Encryption option in the Settings, System menu and Windows 10 Mobile devices can also be enrolled in a Mobile Device Management scheme (ie remotely enforce IT policies such as data encryption and/or content protection).
There is also a "Find My Phone" device setting to "Locate, ring, lock and erase your device from".

By default, there is no PIN set but if you want to encrypt the device, a PIN must be set. A brief look at the SOFTWARE hive (the Registry is still stored under MainOS:\Windows\system32\config) shows that Win10 Mobile does not use the same PIN hashing mechanism as seen in Windows Phone 8 (see Francesco Picasso's post here ) ... D'Oh!

Here's a pic of our lovely Windows 10 Mobile incubator Assistant ... One of them looks a little green to me!

It seems Microsoft/Nokia went for the "You're NOT gonna lose THIS phone!" colouring scheme.

 The Lumia 435 has 1 GB RAM and 8 GB flash storage (all combined on the one chip). There were no In-Service-Programming ports found, so for a physical acquisition, it was chipoff or nothing.
We inserted our own FAT32 formatted 4 GB SD card along with a GSM SIM card. The default settings are to install to the internal memory but upon inserting the SD card (and restarting), the user is prompted to choose where to save various types of data (either to SD card or internal memory). If Apps are set to install to the SD card, their data is obfuscated/encrypted. Twitter was installed from the MS App Store to the SD card and while some filenames were visible, the actual file contents were not in plain text.
The device is too cheap to does not support Windows Hello biometric (face/fingerprint/iris) unlocking.


Microsoft have created a default Messaging app (one app per SIM card) which conveniently aggregates SMS, MMS and Skype chats. These records are stored in a store.vol ESE database under:

Unfortunately, the Messaging app only displays times with a minute resolution. In store.vol however, records are timestamped using 8 byte MS FILETIME (the number of 100 nanosecond intervals since 1JAN1601).

SMS content is viewable from store.vol's "Message" table.
Because this table has tens of columns, it is not yet known how similar it is to Windows Phone 8.1.
Flag values seem consistent between Windows Phone 8 and 10 but if columns have been added/removed, this will affect the offsets between data fields (and hence any previous Windows Phone 8 scripts). Due to time constraints, we haven't been able to confirm if these offsets have changed so any diagrams in this post will purposely leave out offset information.

Here's some diagrams showing the key SMS fields ... For readability, several fields have been omitted (marked by yellow strips).

Received SMS "Message" table record

Sent SMS "Message" table record
Note1:  The weird hexadecimal strings above each box is the actual column name as observed in the "Message" table. The names in the boxes are human readable strings made up by this monkey to keep track of things.
Note2: The PHONE fields are blank for Sent SMS

For Sent/Received SMS messages, the "Message" table's "001a001f" column is set to IPM.SMStext.
Other possible values are:  
- IPM.SMSText.SIM (possibly SMS stored on SIM) 

- IPM.MMS (for MMS) 

- IPM.Note (for email)
- IPM.MSG (for chat and drafts)

Draft messages have a JSON encoded text string containing the body text in column "0037001f" (TEXT field).
Draft messages also have their "0e070013" column (FLAG field) set to 44 (decimal).

Potential values for the Message record FLAG field are:
- Sent = 33
- Received unread = 0
- Received read = 1
- Draft = 41

To find the destination phone number for sent SMS/MMS, we can use the Message record's MSGID field to find the corresponding Recipient record ("Message" table's "00010003" column = "Recipient" table's "20040013" column). The Recipient record contains the destination phone number (PHONE field) as seen below.

"Recipient" table record for SMS/MMS

Alternatively, we can match a Message record's timestamp "0e060040" column (FILETIME2) to a Recipient record's "0e060040" (FILETIME) column. This was the method we used  in our previous Windows Phone 8 scripts.

We also found XML like strings depicting SMS content in: 

This ESE database is new in Windows 10 and appears to be related to the SmsRouter service. My Google-Fu was not strong enough to find much on this service. If it does see/store all SMS, then it may provide access to SMS which have been otherwise deleted from store.vol.
OSForensics ESEDB Viewer had difficulty parsing the SmsInterceptStore.db "Messages" table (showed no entries). However, NirSoft ESE DatabaseView returned 1 entry.
Searching SmsInterceptStore.db with WinHex for the UTF16-LE string "MessageType>Text" found 3 instances of SMS versus the one instance returned by Nirsoft ESE DatabaseView. The extra records may have been deleted from the database but still resident in the file.
The SMS contents seems to be complete (ie they are not snippets).

MMS also store records in store.vol's "Message" and "Recipient" tables. Additionally, MMS store attachment information in the "Attachment" table and the attached files and MMS message text are stored under Data:\SharedData\Comms\Unistore\data\7\

We can use the filesystem "Date modified" time of the attachment files to sort and assign attachments to their corresponding MMS.

Here's a diagram showing the MMS relationship (not all fields shown):

The Windows 10 Mobile MMS relationship isn't exactly clear ... Paging Dr Phil!

Every MMS will have a "Message" table entry. If it's a sent MMS, there will be a corresponding "Recipient" table entry (containing the Destination Phone number and FILETIME3).
Every sent/received MMS Message will have at least 2 "Attachment" table entries - one for a "smil" message layout XML file and one for each attached file (eg one for each dick pic attached). If there's any text in the MMS, there will also be a "Text_0.txt" entry.
Each file attachment will be stored in its own .dat file which will have a similar filesystem "Last Modified" timestamp to the "smil" layout .dat file. This "Last Modified" timestamp will approximately equal the relevant MMS's FILETIME2 value (within 1-2 seconds).

So to locate all MMS, we search the "Message" table for any records with the column "001a001f" set to IPM.MMS.
When we find an MMS, we note the MSGID value (column "00010003" value) and the FILETIME2 value (column "0e060040" value).
We take that MSGID value and search for a match in the "Attachment" table's column "20040013".
There should be at least 2 entries - one for the attachment, one for the "Smil.txt" markup file. There may also be one for MMS text.
We can also use the FILETIME2 value to find .dat files with a similar "Last Modified" timestamp under:
A bit messy but it seems to work for our limited test data ...
For further details on MMS hunting, check out our previous Windows Phone 8.1 MMS post here.


Contact information can be accessed via the default People app. The contact info is stored in store.vol's "Contact" table. The first row entry corresponds to the device owner.
Here's a diagram showing some relevant fields. Its probably incomplete due to our basic test data but it can still give you an indication of the types of data stored. And the duplication ... *whispers* duplication!

"Contact" table record structure (incomplete)

Using a hex editor, we can see that each Contact record ends with the binary sequence 01040000008200E00074C5B7101A82E008. This is the same magic number observed for Windows Phone 8.1 contact records and a good way to way locate Contact records from raw hex (eg from ESE transaction log files or the pagefile at Data:\pagefile.sys).

We also observed 2 pipe separated plain text contact lists stored in:
These contained non-Skype contacts.

Call History

The call history can be accessed via the Phone app (for an overall summary) and/or the People app (per contact call history). There is one Phone app available per SIM.
The source of the call history appears to be the store.vol's "Callhistory" table.
Here's a diagram showing some relevant fields. Unlike other tables, "Callhistory" actually uses human readable column names!

"Callhistory" table record

Inbound Private numbers do not appear in the "RawNumber" or "RawNumberHash" or "ResolvedNumber" columns.
Missed Calls have the same "StartTime" and "EndTime" and their "Type" field set to 2.
The "Line" column contains a GUID (eg {B1776703-738E-437D-B891-44555CEB6669} ) for the phone line which made/received the call. On a device with multiple SIM cards, there may be than one GUID. From previous Windows Phone 8 observations, the example GUID seems constant across several devices and is a good way to locate Callhistory records in hex dumps (GUID string is encoded UTF16-LE).
Our test Skype calls had the "Line" value set to "Microsoft.Messaging_8wekyb3d8bbwe" instead of the GUID.

Pictures / Video

The Data:\Public folder appears to be the default location for saved pictures/video. The Data:\Public folder can contain documents, sound recordings, downloaded files, music, saved pictures/video and ringtones.

We found camera pictures/video under Data:\Users\Public\Pictures\Camera Roll\
eg1 WP_20160414_09_08_08_Pro.jpg
eg2 WP_20160414_09_46_55_Pro.mp4

We were able to save pictures from the MS Edge browser under
Data:\Users\Public\Pictures\Saved Pictures

Other possible storage locations for pictures/video include:
- the user's OneDrive cloud storage.
- the user's SD card. From our testing, by default, media files saved to the SD card are not encrypted.
- the OneNote app.

Final Thoughts

Since we dumped our 435, Microsoft has issued another Win 10 Mobile update so the information in this post may have changed.

In addition to store.vol, remember to check any ESE transaction log files (eg USStmp.log) for data which maybe no longer be present in store.vol. This will probably involve using a hex editor to search for various unique strings or values.

Plugging the 435 into a PC via USB will let the PC user see the Data:\Public folder. This can contain documents, sound recordings, downloaded files, Music, saved pictures, saved video and ringtones. However, Windows 7 did not recognise the 435 as a physical drive when (for shiggles) we tried imaging it via FTK Imager over USB.

Also bundled with Windows 10 Mobile are the following apps - OneDrive, Skype, MS Edge Browser, Facebook, Excel, Word, Powerpoint, OneNote and Cortana.
Cortana was not activated for this testing as there were difficulties activating it for our region (Australia).
Skype chats were observed in:
- store.vol
- the Messaging SQLite database at Data:\Users\DefApps\APPDATA\Local\Packages\Microsoft.Messaging_8wekyb3d8bbwe\LocalState\XXX\main.db
- the Skype SQLite database at Data:\Users\DefApps\APPDATA\Local\Packages\Microsoft.SkypeApp_kzf8qxf38zg5c\LocalState\XXX\main.db

Note: XXX= Mixed string containing the User's Microsoft Account ID.

Users don't need the SIM inserted to view Messaging, Outlook, Skype and Facebook apps. They can also view those apps when in Airplane mode although Outlook will not synch so may not display any messages.

For more information on Windows 10 Mobile please read the following:
Windows 10 Mobile security guide
Secure boot and device encryption overview

Interestingly, the second reference mentions hardware providers blowing any JTAG fuses before the device leaves the factory. Ahem ... This suggests that retailed Windows 10 Mobile devices will not be readable via JTAG.
Additionally, given the lack of In Service Programming (ISP) ports on the budget level Lumia 435, it is likely that the more expensive Lumias will also not expose any ISP points.
This could mean that chipoff may be the only option for physical acquisition of Windows 10 Mobile Lumias.
But don't take this Sky-Is-Falling Monkey's word - have a go yourself and let the community know if you find an alternative to chipoff.

Overall, it's nice that most of the artifacts we looked at have not changed THAT much since Windows Phone 8. The store.vol file is still the key artifact especially since they amalgated the Windows Phone 8 "Phone" database into it for Windows 10 Mobile. I'm thinking it shouldn't be too difficult to update our Windows Phone 8 scripts to handle Windows 10. Ah yes, "shouldn't be" ... methinks getting comprehensive test data will be the main bottleneck - especially if chipoff is required.