U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Crowbar Data Recovery Tool, Model: CSHEL-CB-1.0 Evaluation Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2011
50 pages

This report presents results from the performance evaluation of ManTech CSI's Crowbar, which is a tool that allows government authorities to decipher personal identification numbers (PINs) on multi-media flash memory cards typically used in mobile phones, personal digital assistants, digital cameras, and other devices.


The evaluation concludes that improvements are needed in Crowbar functionality and performance. One improvement would be to enable Crowbar compatibility with SD cards having storage capacity of over two GB. In addition, it could be improved by having a larger LCD screen and display fonts. Further, there should be an automatic conversion of displayed passwords from hexadecimal to text. Other recommendations are the provision of backlight in order to view results in low light, an interface to enable viewing Crowbar operations on computer or laptop, and AC and DC power supply options. Also, clarifications to the Crowbar documentation would make it easier to understand the environments in which the Crowbar can be expected to work properly. At a purchase price of approximately $2,300 per unit, the Crowbar may be cost-prohibitive for many agencies. Current demand for this technology is limited; however, developments in SD card-locking technologies and increased use of the capability will result in an increased demand for technologies that defeat locked SD cards for the purpose of searching for evidence. Appended hexadecimal to text conversion chart, Crowbar "quick facts," and a users' manual

Date Published: February 1, 2011