FLARE – New forensic intelligence tool speeds up digital investigations

CCL-Forensics develops software tool to view, filter and search large amounts of data from multiple mobile phone exhibits.

A new tool, which will revolutionise the way investigators analyse data from mobile phones, has been developed by programmers at CCL-Forensics.

Currently, investigators have to trawl through pages of reports – sometimes hundreds of pages – before finding the data what is important for the case.  When there are many phones in a case, this mountain of data (whether printed or electronic) can quickly become unmanageable – and proving associations between each exhibit is a cumbersome and time consuming exercise.

Even if this data is presented in electronic format, it is still “dumb data” which requires a large amount of manual intervention.

To combat this long-standing problem, CCL-Forensics has developed FLARE – a tool which allows data from multiple phones to be collated, viewed and organised in a single application.

Flare is free to all UK Law Enforcement Agencies for which CCL-Forensics carries out mobile phone data extraction.  Once the data has been extracted, the forensic analyst creates a single FLARE database file, which the investigator then analyses using an intuitive, easy-to-use graphical interface.

It displays calls, texts, tasks, calendar entries and other events from several phones in one easily manageable timeline, allowing investigators to bookmark, filter, search and organise the data quickly and easily.

Alex Caithness, CCL-Forensics’ lead programmer for FLARE says “Phones hold so much data nowadays, and even trying to make sense of one handset in paper format is becoming an arduous task.

Add to this, the large numbers of phones which are seized as part of a case, and you’re quickly drowning under many seemingly unconnected pages of data.

FLARE has been designed to bring all this data together in one single place, meaning associations between phones can be identified, as can the frequency of certain events such as calls and texts.

In short, this means investigators get time to investigate – and don’t become data processors”.

FLARE was developed by the in-house research and development team at CCL-Forensics, the UK’s leading supplier of mobile phone forensics, computer forensics and cell site analysis services to the law enforcement and investigatory community.