Purdue University Graduate School
thesis_v7_K.Billups.pdf (1.61 MB)

New and Emerging Mobile Apps Among Teens - Are Forensic Tools Keeping Up?

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posted on 2020-05-06, 12:37 authored by Kelsey BillupsKelsey Billups
Mobile applications are an important but fast changing piece of the digital forensics’ world. For mobile forensics researchers and field analysts, it is hard to keep up with the pace of the ever-changing world of the newest and most popular applications teens are using. Mobile forensic tools are quickly becoming more and more supportive of new applications, but with how quickly apps are changing and new ones being released, it is still difficult for the tools to keep up. The research question for this project examines to what extent digital forensic tools support new and emerging applications seen recently in investigations involving teenagers? For this research, a survey was conducted asking digital forensic analysts, and others who investigate digital crimes, what applications they are coming across most frequently during investigations involving teens and whether those applications are being supported by forensic tools. The top three applications from the survey that were not supported by mobile forensic tools, Monkey, Houseparty, and Likee were populated onto a test device and then evaluated and analyzed to see what forensic artifacts were found in those applications. The mobile application artifacts were then compared on two different forensic tools to see which tool obtains the most forensic artifacts from the applications. Through the examination and analysis of the applications and data contained within the apps, it was determined that 61% of the populated forensic artifacts were recovered manually and only 45% were recovered by a forensic tool for the Monkey application. 100% of the populated forensic artifacts were recovered manually and only 29% were recovered by a forensic tool for the Houseparty application. 42% of the populated forensic artifacts were recovered manually and only 3% were recovered by a forensic tool for the Likee application. It was found that the extent of support from digital forensic tools for these types of applications depends greatly on how the application stores the artifacts, but the artifact extraction support was limited for all applications. This research benefits in helping researchers and analysts by understanding the data and artifacts contained within the applications, what forensic artifacts are recoverable, and where to find those important artifacts. This research can help in finding important evidence for future investigations.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Computer and Information Technology

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Marcus Rogers

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Umit Karabiyik