Email Recovery in Cyber Forensics – A Complete Guide

MailXaminer | October 12th, 2020 | Forensics

Case Scenarios:

An employee working as a Team Leader in a BPO firm was arrested by the police in the drug-dealing case in 2016. Initially, he was a social media freak and a well-performing candidate. He used to do illegal dealings with customers through emails. During the investigation, police found that there is no thread of records and proof of drug dealing in the culprit’s email account. Maybe he deleted all his emails. Unfortunately, the police had to release him because of no proof.

In digital forensics, to tackle such kind of situations, there comes a need of investigators to recover lost or deleted email data. This is because it is the only way that may help the investigators to get the evidential leads of the case. Nowadays, emails play a significant role in everyone’s life as it is being used for business or personal communication, sharing confidential documents which may be crucial, etc. It could be a nightmare if such important data gets lost somehow.

In most of the illegal cases, criminals usually delete such suspected emails intentionally to remove the leads of evidence. Because of this, we will be disclosing the finest solution to recover the deleted/lost emails manually and also an instant email recovery solution that is exclusively used in cyber forensics.

Know the Commonly Used Email Services

There are two types of email clients, which includes web-based (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.) and desktop-based (Thunderbird, Outlook, etc.). These email services provide the functionality wherein the soft-deleted emails will be placed in the trash folder. Moreover, Shift + Deleted or hard deleted emails are not placed in the trash folder instead, they will be permanently deleted. Under such instance, one can recover the soft-deleted emails from the trash folder. However, make sure to not leave an email in the trash folder for a long time. Because after 30 days, these emails get permanently removed from the trash folder by the Gmail email service provider.

Manual Method for Forensic Recovery of Deleted Emails

Step 1: Click on the “Trash folder” option in your email application

Trash folder

Step 2: “Select” the desired message you want to restore

Select

Step 3: Click on the “Move” button

Move

Step 4: Select the desired location where you want to restore the deleted message.

Gmail Email Recovery in Cyber Forensics

So, if you have deleted your important Gmail emails accidentally, and haven’t cleared the trash folder or if it has not been passed 30 days yet? Then, you can easily recover your emails from the trash folder of the Gmail application.

But, if you have also deleted your emails from the trash permanently, or 30 days have passed since you have deleted the emails, then, what? Don’t worry, there are some third-party forensics tools which help to effortlessly recover the deleted emails.

Best Solution for Email Recovery in Cyber Forensics

Sometimes, users who have accidentally deleted their important emails from the Gmail application should know that their emails are not instantly deleted permanently. Instead, those emails are only erased from the location due to which people are unable to see them. But if the emails are permanently deleted then it can be recovered only by using an efficient third-party email recovery tool.

In order to properly track the emails and investigate email crimes. We recommend you to use MailXaminer software as this is one of the best software for email recovery in cyber forensics that offers countless features to analyze emails. This email forensic tool supports 20+ email clients and 80+ email file types. In the next section, we will discuss how to recover deleted or lost emails with the help of MailXaminer Email Forensics Software.

Recover and Investigate Emails with Forensic Software

To learn how to recover emails that have been lost or deleted anyhow, follow these steps using the forensic tool MailXaminer. First, download and install MailXaminer software in your Desktop/Laptop. After that for forensic recovery of evidence, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Launch the software and, create a new case to begin the investigation. For this, click on the “File” tab and choose the option “New Case” and create the case by filling the required details related to the case

New Case

Step 2: Now, add the evidential file into the software for scanning by clicking on the “Add Evidence” button. An “Add File” window will appear, now choose the file type and browse evidence file using the “Browse” button

Add Evidence

Step 3: The software will preview all the deleted emails in red color, hence users can easily find the deleted emails

Email Recovery in Cyber Forensics

Step 4: After adding the suspected file in the software, one can view the emails in different preview modes. It allows investigators to find precise information from the emails that helps in extracting the evidence

Preview Modes

Step 5: To view the deleted files separately, select the “Deleted” folder. It will show you all the recovered files individually

Deleted

Step 6: To save the data into your local system, click on the “Export” button. Then, select the desired file format in which you want to export the recovered lost emails and click the “OK” button.

Export

Some Additional Features of MailXaminer

  • Capable to scan and add data files of 20+ Email Clients.
  • Navigate the Geo-Location Mapping of the Image attached within the emails.
  • Support Forensic Hash Algorithm Analysis using MD5, SHA-1, and SHA-256 hash values.
  • Facilitates a powerful search mechanism for a Systematic Email Search of suspected emails.
  • It gives Multiple Export Options to save files in different file formats.

Time to Wind Up!

As you can see, there are manual as well as automated methods to recover lost or deleted emails. However, the manual method only recovers soft-deleted emails that still exist in the trash folder. But for the recovery of hard deleted emails (SHIFT+DELETE), users need to use a trustworthy third party software i.e. MailXaminer. This email examination software is one of the best software used for forensic recovery of deleted emails and thoroughly analyzes the email data using its advanced functionality.