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Digital Forensics

Digital Forensics

The Digital Forensics Major prepares students for the world of technology by introducing them to a variety of current hardware and software technologies. This major provides background and experience in problem solving enabling students to learn and adapt to new technologies they will meet in the workplace. Students pursuing the Digital Forensics major gain hands-on experience with software used by professional forensic examiners and explore the legal aspects of the discipline. The coursework for this track prepares students for the ACE certification in Digital Forensics.

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Program Technology Requirements

In this program you may be asked to install, configure, and run software on your computer, a remote computer, and a virtual computer.  All students are required to have the following before beginning the program:

Click here to read the course catalog for more information.

All students majoring in Digital Forensics will need their own laptop with the following minimum specifications:
  • Operating System - Windows 11 (64bit version only)
    • A login as an Administrator account.
  • Memory - Minimum 8 GB RAM
  • Processor - Intel Core i5 or Intel Core i7 (2.0 GHz or better) CPU must support Virtualization Technologies
  • Hard disk - Minimum 256 GB Solid State Drive (SSD) or larger
  • Reliable, broadband Internet access.
  • Installed Browser(s):  Firefox, Edge, and/or Chrome

Students will be required to use a variety of tools either locally or remotely, including on virtual machines. Students should understand how to manage antivirus settings to download and install software. Students must use the Canvas LMS, and Microsoft Applications such as Office, Outlook, and Teams. Microsoft apps are provided to enrolled students through O365. 

This program/course cannot be completed without meeting the above requirements. Cellphones, tablets, Apple Macs, Chromebooks, or other similar devices are insufficient to complete the program/course. Students will be solely responsible for troubleshooting any technical problems that may occur due to non-compliant hardware, software and/or services as specified above. Students will be responsible for handing in assignments by due dates despite technical difficulties. 

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All students in the Department participate in an internship that enables them to apply their academic knowledge and gain experience in the workplace. Students work closely with the Career Development Office and their Faculty Advisor to complete the internship process.

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Sample Course Descriptions

Legal Issues/Digital Forensics I

Provides students with an introduction to the laws of search and seizure and the civil and criminal laws pertaining to computers and the seizure of computer evidence. Students will examine cases and statutes from appropriate sources including the United States Constitution and Federal and State laws pertaining to Internet and email records, ECPA, search warrants and probable cause.

Introduction to Digital Forensics  

Provides an introduction to Digital Forensics from a theoretical and practical perspective and an introduction to investigative tools and techniques used in the field. Personal computer operating system architectures and disk structures are reviewed and the proper use of available computer forensic hardware and software tools are examined. Other topics include the importance of digital evidence controls, the method of processing crime and incident scenes, the details of data acquisition, and the requirements of an expert witness. The course provides a range of laboratory and hands-on activities and assignments that emphasize both the theory and the practical application of computer forensic investigations.

Advanced Digital Forensics  

Provides a more in-depth understanding of Digital Forensics and the investigative tools and techniques used in the field. The course provides a range of laboratory and hands on assignments that teach about theory as well as the practical application of computer forensic investigations. Topics covered in this course include: Case Reporting & Working with PRTK, Windows Registry and Registry Viewer, Link and Spool Files, Encrypted File System, Forensic Analysis, Forensic Duplication, File System Analysis, Internet and E-mail Usage Analysis, and ID Theft. The proper use of automated digital forensics tools will also be discussed. Cell phone forensics will also be explored, providing the proper software can be obtained.

Legal and Technical Writing in Digital Forensics  

Provides practical applications in legal and technical report writing in the area of Digital Forensics. In particular, students will examine what is involved in drafting complaint evaluations, witness statements, ECPA orders, search warrants and affidavits. Students will also examine data mapping in civil discovery, the use of reports in evaluating an investigation, the importance of e-discovery rules and the process of conducting a search.

Intro to Computer Hardware/Peripherals  

Provides a challenging introduction to technology for students interested in a major or minor in computer and information technology or related fields. Topics include elements of computer architecture and peripherals. Upon the completion of this course students should be prepared to take the A+ Certification Examination.

Introduction to Data Communications  

Provides an introduction to computer networks and data communications, data and signals, using conducted and wireless signals. Students consider local information exchanged through global networking. Additional topics incorporate the study of communications hardware and software and the ethical and moral issues emanating from the communications explosion.

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Contact Information

If you are interested in becoming a digital forensics major at Chestnut Hill College, please contact Susan Ceklosky, Computer Science Program Coordinator (cekloskys@chc.edu).

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