Information Trust Institute block of abstract images
Information Trust Institute block of abstract images

Program in Digital Forensics

funded by: the National Science Foundation

researchers: Roy H. Campbell (PI), Masooda Bashir, Jay P. Kesan, Anna-Maria Marshall, Lizanne DeStefano, Jana Sebestik, and personnel from the University of Illinois College of Business and from Parkland Community College

The Program in Digital Forensics team is developing a new undergraduate educational curriculum in digital forensics in order to address a national shortage of trained cyber-security professionals.

Forensics is the use of scientific methods to obtain information with legal significance, and digital forensics is a type of forensics that deals with recovery and investigation of data in digital devices. Digital crime, and the need to use digital evidence in investigations, are both growing dramatically in today’s technology-dependent world. Consequently, digital forensics is now a major part of many criminal investigations, and its tools are frequently and increasingly being used by law enforcement agencies. According to one estimate, the number of jobs related to digital forensics will increase by over 20% from 2010 to 2018.

While a number of academic programs on digital forensics have been developed, the field and its curriculum standards are still evolving. Therefore, without a standard curriculum, there may be great inconsistency among the university programs being offered. The aim of ITI’s project is to develop and implement a model curriculum in digital forensics that balances the various necessary multidisciplinary components, and to work for acceptance of that model as a standard for education in digital forensics.

To address the challenge of teaching such a complex topic, the ITI development team includes not just faculty in computer science and computer engineering, but also experts in criminal justice, law, sociology, and educational assessment.

The curriculum resources to be created will be usable as the basis for future academic programs, distance learning, and multidisciplinary, multi-institutional programs that meet evolving standards. Specialized curricula will be developed to meet the needs of both universities and two-year colleges, and a K-12 outreach program will translate the educational materials and program to levels suitable for a wider audience. Much of the material, including a virtual laboratory and class notes, will be provided on-line and shared with other institutions.

More information, please visit the Digital Forensics Education Initiative website or contact the digital forensics program’s managing director, Dr. Masooda Bashir, at mnbatillinois [dot] edu.