Vehicle data can be used in a digital forensic investigation to establish what had happened prior to a collision and whether or not there was any fault. Even if there wasn’t a collision, vehicle data can be used in digital forensic investigations to uncover evidence for pre-litigation, asset search, and other types of investigations. This can be achieved through the use of the ‘black box’ located in modern vehicles.

Forensic investigators can use a variety of techniques to uncover vehicle data. When used in conjunction with other sources of evidence, vehicle data can be used to help piece together what happened during an incident. Some types of evidence that can be uncovered using vehicle data for a digital forensic investigation include:

  • Connected devices – what devices were connected to the vehicle?
  • Bluetooth connections – what devices were connected to the vehicle via Bluetooth?
  • Wifi connections – did the vehicle connect to nearby wifi sources?
  • Call logs – what calls were made from the vehicle?
  • Contact list – what contacts are listed in the vehicle’s phone book?
  • SMS messages – what text messages were sent in or around the vehicle?
  • Emails – what emails were sent in or around the vehicle?
  • Photos – what photos were taken in or around the vehicle?
  • Social media feeds – what social media apps were used in or around the vehicle?
  • Recent destinations – where did the vehicle recently travel?
  • Saved locations – what locations are saved in the vehicle’s navigation system?
  • Tracklogs/waypoints – what path did the vehicle take to get to its destination?
  • Headlight data – at what point, if at all, were the headlights turned on?
  • Door usage – how many times did each door open and shut? How many occupants were in the vehicle?
  • Gear changes – when were the gears changed in the vehicle?
  • Connections and disconnections from Bluetooth and wifi
  • Unrecognized and new device Bluetooth connections and disconnections

Most vehicles are supported by hardware that can recover this type of data for digital forensics investigations. The vehicle makes and their subsidiaries that include this type of hardware are:

  • FordĀ 
  • FCA (Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, Ram, etc.)
  • GM (Buick, Cadillac, GMC, etc.)
  • Volkswagen (Audi, Lamborghini, Porsche, Volkswagen, etc.)
  • Mercedes Benz
  • BMW
  • Toyota (Lexus, Scion, Toyota)
  • Hyundai (Kia, Hyundai, Genesis.)

In general, vehicle data can be incredibly helpful for digital forensic investigations. A forensic analysis of a car’s systems, like the engine and transmission, can provide valuable information about how a crash took place. Vehicle data can also provide insight into the actions of drivers who were involved in an accident or crime. Just as modern technology has put the power to understand car engines in the hands of anyone with a basic understanding of automotive terminology, modern technology is putting access to sophisticated vehicle data in the hands of anyone with an understanding of computer processes. Vehicle data can be just as important as seeing a vehicle’s hard drives in a digital forensic investigation, and the more you know about using it, the more effective your work will be.

Are you interested in learning more about digital forensics? Active Intel Investigations is an expert at conducting digital forensics investigation services. Contact us today to get started on your digital forensics investigation.