Paraben E3: DS
Strengths: Solid performance, ease of use and comprehensive analysis. Support is superb.
Weaknesses: None that we found.
Verdict: This belongs in every lab doing mobile device forensics. Not only is it a solid tool, it is perfect for triage. We make this our Best Buy this month.
Paraben's E3:DS is a full-featured mobile device forensic analysis tool kit. Everything, including a nice collection of cables, a battery backup and many other important accessories come with it. When you receive your license dongle all you need to do is download the product from Paraben's web site and install. You also need to install drivers for the various mobile devices the tool supports - and there are a lot of them - and the dongle manager software. Once all of that is downloaded and installed you're ready to go. Even with some dongle problems caused by the latest upgrade of Windows 10 it only took us less than a half hour to do everything. The dongle did not work, courtesy of Microsoft, but Paraben has a software dongle that will work for a limited time until your dongle arrives or you are able to repair the drivers.
Once we had the dongle updated and installed, and the drivers were repaired we were ready to acquire a mobile device. Our target was a Motorola Droid. All of the cables we needed were in the kit and we were ready for business in little time. Androids need a bit of setup before you can acquire them. We used a Droid XT1565 and we were not interested in rooting it (since it is a personal phone). That left us to do a logical acquisition and that went very smoothly. In the logical mode, E3:DS can recover deleted contacts, SMS history, MMS history, call history as well as the usual non-deleted files. It can remove password protection as well for Android versions lower than 4.1.
Once the data were all in the case we created it was very simple to walk through it and analyze the phone. Acquisition is enhanced by device drivers for over 27,000 mobile devices including phones, tablets, GPS and IoT devices. It also has the ability to image data from cloud accounts such as Facebook Twitter and lots of others.
The Paraben web site is excellent. We were able to register our software and and activate it even though we had dongle issues right from the support area on the site ("Customer Zone"). Here, too, you can download the latest driver packs. When it became evident that we were going to need some support beyond what the web site could offer in its FAQ and knowledge base, we contacted the company by email figuring that, as it was a holiday, we would hear nothing until Tuesday. However, Paraben maintains 24X7 support and we were up and running in no time with the support engineer contacting us by email along the way (after spending time on the phone at 5:30PM on Labor Day) to make sure we were out of the woods.
Pricing for E3:DS is very reasonable for what you get and for an easy-to-use, quick tool it can't be beat. This is the best mobile device forensics tool Paraben has produced and for on-the-run mobile device forensics it's just the thing.
We have observed that many tools of this type have more features and are applicable largely to lab use. E3:DS is applicable to just about any mobile device forensics task that requires solid court-ready forensics (you can even create a special forensically sound container if you wish), management of your cases and everything you need to acquire devices in a hurry. When we were conducting analyses of mobile devices at our university this would have been the perfect tool to have when time is short and evidence is critical. Even if you are using other tools, give this one a very close look. It really does belong in your tool kit.