Recovery of intact but previously deleted digital files is a staple of data recovery services and digital forensics investigations. Although more challenging, the recovery and analysis of fragments from deleted files remains an active area of research and application. In this work, we study the decay of MP3 formatted audio files on a portable voice recorder with internal flash storage, and we recover usable audio fragments. Our approach captures media snapshots over time, then analyzes them to measure deleted file decay. Our results in this work and elsewhere indicate that fragments of deleted files are (a) surprisingly persistent, (b) recoverable, and (c) interpretable. This work is relevant for law enforcement, the intelligence community, and data recovery specialists.
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