Monday, February 10, 2014

Interview with Andrew Rector, Digital Forensics Student, Bloomsburg University

Andrew Rector
Andrew, you’re currently studying Digital Forensics at Bloomsburg University. Could you tell us more about the course and what drew you to it?

Digital Forensics is the acquisition and analysis of any digital medium for the purpose of finding and reporting evidence to Government agencies, police, and/or private contractors. At Bloomsburg University we are taught first to have a low-level understanding of what we will be looking at (Binary/Hexadecimal, File System Analysis, and Windows Artifacts), and then we are taught how to use our skills to do real Forensics cases using the prevalent Digital Forensics tools (FTK, EnCase, X-Ways). What really drew me to Digital Forensics the most was the investigative mindset you have to have. When you are doing a case, it’s almost like a chess match between you and the “bad guy”. For me, that’s very exciting, every case is different, and has its own brand of excitement.

You’re also Lab Manager at the Pennsylvania Center for Digital Forensics, doing research on GPS devices and mobile telephones. How did you become interested in this area and what can you tell us about your research?

Cell phones and GPS devices were one of my first major areas of research. They interest me a lot because of the challenge they present, cell phones especially. Forensically analyzing a phone is completely different than analyzing a HDD (Hard Disk Drive). For one, the sheer volume of types of phones make it a challenge, not to mention the different operating systems on each one. Each phone is a new challenge. One of my most exciting research projects with the PACDF was the analysis of a Garmin Nuvi GPS. By analyzing the Garmin forensically, I was able to completely retrace a person’s whereabouts, down to the exact time, date, and location. It’s really very amazing the data that can be found on those types of devices...

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