Until recently, crime scene investigations typically involved searching for minute specs of blood, or threads of fabric linking a suspect to a victim. Or, detectives would wade through mountains of paperwork, trying to link evidence in bank statements, letters and other documents to complex frauds.
Now, while none of those aspects has gone away, there's a third, almost ever present, element to police investigations: what's known as digital evidence. Here the specs, traces and trails are virtual ones, contained in computers and other electronic devices. Understanding this is the discipline known as forensic computing, which is the central element of 90 undergraduate courses, at 21 different universities, all designed to provide the first career step for the would-be digital detectives of tomorrow.
"Nowadays you would struggle to find a crime that doesn't have a computer element involved somewhere," says Tim Watson, leader of the BSc forensic computing course at De Montfort University (DMU) in Leicester. "That element might be anything from mobile phones to personal digital assistants and home or work-based computers."
De Montfort was one of the first British universities to launch a course in this area, and it is growing in popularity. The first wave of seven students is due to graduate this summer, but the current cohort of entrants numbers 60, from hundreds of applicants.
The common component of such courses is learning how to detect and extract data stored on electronic devices, especially when criminals have used their own knowledge of computers to conceal it. This means teaching students criminal techniques.
To Continue Reading: Click Here
By: Steve McCormack