, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 15-33
Date: 11 Mar 2012

Forensic analysis of phone call networks

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Abstract

In the context of preventing and fighting crime, the analysis of mobile phone traffic, among actors of a criminal network, is helpful in order to reconstruct illegal activities on the basis of the relationships connecting those specific individuals. Thus, forensic analysts and investigators require new advanced tools and techniques which allow them to manage these data in a meaningful and efficient way. In this paper we present LogAnalysis, a tool we developed to provide visual data representation and filtering, statistical analysis features and the possibility of a temporal analysis of mobile phone activities. Its adoption may help in unveiling the structure of a criminal network and the roles and dynamics of communications among its components. Using LogAnalysis, forensic investigators could deeply understand hierarchies within criminal organizations, for e.g., discovering central members who provide connections among different sub-groups, etc. Moreover, by analyzing the temporal evolution of the contacts among individuals, or by focusing on specific time windows they could acquire additional insights on the data they are analyzing. Finally, we put into evidence how the adoption of LogAnalysis may be crucial to solve real cases, providing as example a number of case studies inspired by real forensic investigations led by one of the authors.