Forensic analysis of Kik messenger on iOS devices

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Abstract

Instant messaging applications continue to grow in popularity as a means of communicating and sharing multimedia files. The information contained within these applications can prove invaluable to law enforcement in the investigation of crimes. Kik messenger is a recently introduced instant messaging application that has become very popular in a short period of time, especially among young users. The novelty of Kik means that there has been little forensic examination conducted on this application. This study addresses this issue by investigating Kik messenger on Apple iOS devices. The goal was to locate and document artefacts created or modified by Kik messenger on devices installed with the latest version of iOS, as well as in iTunes backup files. Once achieved, the secondary goal was to analyse the artefacts to decode and interpret their meaning and by doing so, be able to answer the typical questions faced by forensic investigators. A detailed description of artefacts created or modified by Kik messenger is provided. Results from experiments showed that deleted images are not only recoverable from the device, but can also be located and downloaded from Kik servers. A process to link data from multiple database tables producing accurate chat histories is explained. These outcomes can be used by law enforcement to investigate crimes and by software developers to create tools to recover evidence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40–52
Number of pages13
JournalDigital Investigation
Volume17
Early online date30 Apr 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

Keywords

  • Kik, instant messaging, iOS, mobile device forensics, Apple

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