Authors: Daniel Walnycky (University of New Haven), Ibrahim Baggili (University of New Haven), Andrew Marrington (Zayed University), Frank Breitinger (University of New Haven), and Jason Moore



In this research, we forensically acquire and analyze the device-stored data and network traffic of 20 popular instant messaging applications for Android. We were able to reconstruct some or the entire message content from 16 of the 20 applications tested, which reflects poorly on the security and privacy measures employed by these applications but may be construed positively for evidence collection purposes by digital forensic practitioners. This work shows which features of these instant messaging applications leave evidentiary traces allowing for suspect data to be reconstructed or partially reconstructed and whether network forensics or device forensics permits the reconstruction of that activity. We show that in most cases we were able to reconstruct or intercept data such as passwords, screenshots taken by applications, pictures, videos, audio sent, messages sent, sketches, profile pictures and more.