Who is ACATO?

ACATO is a German forensics laboratory for digital devices (e.g. hard drives, smarphones, SSD from blackboxes, network infrastructure) based in Munich (Bavaria, Germany).  The secial equipment allows the certified forensic experts to go far beyond the abilities of general digital forensics. 

The reputation of the experts goes beyond the county borders:

In 2015 our Chipoff Forensics expert, Christian Bartsch, presented at the Mobile Forensics Summit of the German Central Police (BKA Meckenheim) the newest methodologies for extracting evidence from severely damaged devices such as smartphones and aircraft black boxes. The closed-door event was attended by the best police forensics experts of Germany (80 from police, customs, tax, and homeland security), Austria (2x), Switzerland (3x Zürich) and United Kingdom (3x New Scotland Yard).



In May 2016 our expert was again recommended by the german authority for Security in the information technology (BSI): In Aachen the presentation at the University of applied science attracted police forensics from Germany (LKA NRW, customs, tax investigators) and neigbouring countries (Belguim Police, Police Academy of Netherlands). Also experts from leading audit firms (i.e. E&Y, KPMG, GrantThornton, PwC) came the long way to listen to the newest infos on chipoff forensics which also included different aspects based on newest research.


The company has access to over 900 reference devices (cellphones and smartphones) are on site for reseach and shadow copy activities. A specialized drive depot also has parts (Actuator, Heads, Motor, Spindle, PCB) for recovering evidence from damaged hard drives.


Due to the complex and sensitive work, the internal organisation is operating in accordance with ISO 270035-270242. The quality management has been in place since 2011, when the company started building its QM manual based on the ISO9001 standard. This is complemented by the internal Case Management tool “RescueBase” that has all vital information on cases centralized and documented.


The continued effort to improve quality and efficiency has led to the major project to digitalize all parts records so that a search for parts is becoming faster as a wide range of details is in the database and the history of each part is documented.


Furthermore, ACATO GmbH is an enterprise fully owned by Germans citizens and is bound by german privacy laws to keep data of clients confidential. No data is shared with american courts unless the client has requested us to do so. Our digital infrastructure is 100% in our hands and not stored on foreign cloud systems.




Any tool that ACATO develops or provides to a third party is only developed internally. No programming is outsourced to companies abroad. Therefore, source codes never leave the company premises. The testing of tools is done to the best possible level. Nevertheless, we rely on partners abroad to test the tools in real life scenarios (i.e. removing ransomware from computers of italian companies).

Nevertheless, research and development is a process that continues over many years. Even in the field of smartphone forensics our company has sometimes helped other manufacturers with expertise or supplying reference devices for their research. Cooperation in research is a contribution all dedicated forensics experts can do to make the world a safer place.


  • Fraud Investigations
  • Chipoff Forensics
  • Forensic App Research
  • Unlocking of devices
  • Decrypting of devices
  • Anti Ransomware Tools
  • Mail Forensics tools
  • Court Expert Witness
  • Video and Photo forensics
  • Suspect identification
  • Data Recovery
  • Smartphone forensics
  • Blackbox forensics
  • Computer forensics