Digital Forensics on the March
Article by Rick Leinecker, March 25, 2007

It was on the Ides of March that I found myself in front of an overflow crowd of computer instructors. I was talking about Digital Forensics - the process of uncovering computer incidences. In most cases I learn a great deal when I speak, and this conference was no exception.

The first thing I noticed was the huge interest in Digital Forensics. The room was jam packed, and there were at least a dozen people sitting in an overflow area. All of the instructors were in the session to get started learning Digital Forensics so that they can teach classes on the subject. Almost every community college now offers a range of computer security classes, many of which deal with Digital Forensics.

I was amazed at how many attendees didn't know the basics of Digital Forensics. Now don't get me wrong, I wouldn't expect the average person on the street to know this stuff! But these are computer professionals and I was surprised that the subject seemed so new to them. I guess that's job security for me since I teach it, give lots of seminars, and have a Digital Forensics business (www.TriadDigitalForensics.com).

This is a golden opportunity for my students at Rockingham Community College, too. They can learn the field and be part of a select few who are practicing the discipline.

One important thing I learned was that there is a free program that can be used to find many passwords on your computer. It is a big help if you forgot your password or have some sort of emergency where you need to access something that's password protected. The name of the program is Protected Storage PassView. It can find passwords on your computer, including Outlook passwords, AutoComplete passwords and fields, password protected sites, and more. You can download it from the publisher's (NirSoft) Web site at http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/pspv.html.

Another thing I found out is that this emerging field provides an opportunity in many localities for entrepreneurs who are ready to start their own Digital Forensics business. I got quite a few queries about how to get started. It seems that most areas don't have Digital Forensics practitioners yet. Given enough time, though, and you'll see many Digital Forensics businesses start up and thrive.

Oh, and one last thing. I learned how nice Atlantic Beach is. My daughter Judy and some of her friends went with me, and during the slack time I went to the beach with them.

That's it for my experiences from the Digital Forensics seminar.