A principal goal of this project is to develop online course materials to educate and train college and community college students in core knowledge, skills, and competencies (the ‘core’) involved in digital forensics. The core will be developed from multiple sources including those developed by the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center, National Institutes of Standards and Technology, and existing ATE Cybersecurity Centers. The specific goals of the project include:
- Preparation of traditional Associate of Science students: A 2000-level course, CIS2385 - - Digital Forensics, teaches associate level students the fundamentals of digital forensics, including legal and ethical issues, seizure, imaging and hashing, and simple examination procedures. Students completing these courses will have demonstrated the ability, through hands-on exercises, to apply tools and techniques to the key competencies required for entry level forensics examiners and technicians.
- Preparation of Bachelor’s students: There are four 4000-level courses included in our project: CET4860 -- Introduction to Digital Forensics, CET4861 – Advanced Forensics, CET 4862 Incident Response and Network Forensics, and CTS3348 - Linux Administration. These courses allow faculty and students to explore elements of digital forensics in detail, from various operating and file systems, to applications, to network incident response. Students completing these courses will have demonstrated, through hands-on exercises, a good depth of knowledge about important tools, techniques, and concepts crucial to the success of a digital forensics examiner.
- Workforce retraining: IT workforce members often need retraining to keep abreast of technology changes. Workforce members affected by the dynamic nature of a global economy, requiring moving to a new field, require training as well. A primary example of the latter that has had a significant impact on Florida is the closure of the Space Shuttle program, which is expected to lose between 8,000 and 23,000 jobs in Florida, as well as the expected military draw down in Iran and Afghanistan, which will affect many of the military installations in Florida and other southeast region states. This draw down will require considerable effort to retrain and retool the skills of the displaced workers. Current practitioners, for example military and civilian government employees, will need to include cyber forensic skills to their professional skill set. Because technology is dynamic, it is critical to provide displaced workers with the latest theory as well as hands-on training in the latest forensic tools and techniques.
- Ensuring program quality and relevance: Quality teaching methods and current knowledge and skills sets relevant to real-world activities are crucial to providing a strong workforce. The online courses provide hands-on experiences through the use of video demonstrations and their application through desktop virtualization technologies. The PI (Pollitt) and co-PI (Craiger) have taught numerous security and forensics courses online for several years with a great deal of success. Moreover, faculty will work with multiple sources, including the Department of Defense Cybercrime Center, the NIST NICE initiative and existing ATE Cybersecurity Centers to ensure that appropriate knowledge, skills, and competencies are included in the courses. The PI (Pollitt) has been an active participant in both the Defense Cybercrime Center’s CDFAE initiative and the American Academy of Forensic Science’s Forensic Education Program Accreditation Commission.
- Maximizing dissemination: The video lectures and laboratory materials will be made available online through an appropriate forum so that college and community college faculty and students throughout the U.S. can access the materials.