This is the transcript for the video Forensic Science – Digital Forensics Major Info

Scott: Hello everyone, and welcome to this short video that is going to explain a little bit more detail about the Bachelor of Forensic Science, majoring in Digital Forensics.

Scott: So before I begin, I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians and acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation upon whose ancestral lands our city campus now stands. I pay respect to the elders, both past and present, acknowledging them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for this land.

Scott: OK, so digital forensics, it’s really at the cutting edge of forensic science and it’s a really growing area that we’re really excited to offer this new course in. So why have we moved into digital forensics? Well, let’s have a think about our lives and how they’ve changed over time. Now, if we consider things like documents – for a very long time, everything had to be written down on pen and paper and we’d have all these sort of stacks of paper that, you know, if we were looking for records and things, we’d find them in things like filing cabinets. Then as technology has improved, we’ve shifted documents to different types of physical media. So originally it was things like floppy disks and then we moved into CDs and Blu-Rays and DVDs and then the storage of very large amounts of data and documents – we went to hard drives. So up until the hard drive point, everything had a physical state. So if there was ever any documents that needed to be recovered at a crime scene, we could collect these things because they physically existed. But now if we look to the future, well more and more of our documents and even our lives have gone into this sort of cloud-based system where there is no physical record of those documents or those images and things. So how we investigate crime with no physical devices is where our digital forensics is going to play a really big role and it’s going to play a larger role as we move into the future.

Scott: Well, let’s consider something else. Let’s consider communication. And again, we can see that over time our communications have changed quite rapidly. We’ve got our original rotary dial phone there. We then moved into cordless devices, which, you know, if we were doing a criminal investigation, we could tap those phone calls. We then moved into mobile phones, which allowed us to, again, things like SIM cards and that we could recover them. Then we moved into the iPhones and video calling – that was a massive part of our communication strategies. And then now even as I’m communicating to you, everything’s online. It’s a recorded video. It’s a Zoom, it’s a Skype. It’s a Microsoft Teams call. The way that we communicated has changed significantly. And how criminals communicate also has changed. So the mobile phones, they used to be burner phones, but now everybody can do communication via secure video links and FaceTime and things like that.

Scott: And if we even consider business how business was done now, you know, if we’re a criminal and we wanted to get some money, well way back when we might have robbed a bank to get that money and we would have had armed robberies and things like that. Then when cheques and things came into the market, we might have had some forgeries happen where people might steal somebody’s chequebook and write larger cheques for them. We then had credit cards happening where again, we had a lot of credit card fraud and credit card information. But if we look at the moment and again to the future, all of our banking and our business is done in the online space. And again, if there is a crime that occurs in these areas, we need people who understand how these digital artefacts or digital traces work so that we can assist investigators in preventing and hopefully solving crimes, because that’s where we’re finding that most of our crimes are moving towards. It’s moving into this digital world, which is really a reflection of how our lives have changed over time.

Scott: So when we approach forensics, it’s really a problem that we we are trying to solve here and a big part of forensics is trying to establish connections. So in a physical world, we might have a physical crime scene where a crime has occurred. So, again, this could have been somebody had come in and robbed a bank and a big part of our investigation is going to try and establish some links or connections between the crime scene and the offender, or the crime scene and the victim. And hopefully we could make some connection between the offender and the victim. And for a very long time, forensic science was happy to only have this aspect to it. And we would focus on what we call physical traces. So these were things like fingerprints, DNA, if there was bodies, explosives, all those sorts of things, things that actually existed that showed a very physical trace of a activity. But now what we’ve noticed is the physical crime scene is only one part of crime. And we need to consider the digital crime scene. And the digital crime scene has a completely different set of traces. Now, we still obviously want to try and make connections between our offenders and our victims and their connection to the crime scene. So rather than looking at physical traces, we are going to look at digital traces. So these could be things like mobile phone data, SMSes, it could be GPS data, it could be data logs of people’s computers, it could be emails that they thought that they deleted over time. And where forensics really is moving is using these two aspects, the physical and the digital world, and using them in harmony to help solve crime. So UTS has been very world renowned for our focus in the physical areas of forensic science – so, crime scene biology and chemistry and now we’re really excited to offer you an opportunity to get that level of experience in the digital forensics area.

Scott: So we’re really excited about this particular major because we find that it has major applications in a whole range of different areas. So when we think about forensic science, we generally think of policing. So digital forensics has a really growing, rapidly growing role in policing and this is in the investigation of digital crime. So as I said before, as more of our lives are moving into the digital world, so is the crime and criminals. So digital forensic scientists are often looking into sharing of illegal images or files and also looking into identity theft or Internet fraud. They can also help the forensic investigators that attend crime scenes and are focusing on those physical traces by providing them with assistance in looking at those digital traces. So if a mobile phone is recovered from a crime scene, the digital forensic scientists will go through that mobile phone and try to recover some of the mobile data or maybe even some of the GPS data. And again, if there is any sort of computer, laptop or hardware that’s recovered at a crime scene, a digital forensic scientist can also attend that crime scene to collect those things. So what’s really neat about the digital forensics degree is that you do have the opportunity, if you do want to move into policing, to have that sort of cross collaboration between working at the scene and then also working in the laboratory, which is something that not a lot of other disciplines are able to do.

We can also use digital forensics in a whole range of different areas, so more around the sort of security and government areas. Now, these could be things like revenge porn or terror related content that gets shared on the Internet, things like tampered media. So we’ve probably seen a lot of these sort of deep fake videos that are out there. And digital forensic scientists have very sophisticated tools to try and detect those types of deep fake videos. They’re also used by different companies to try and identify and then suppress things like hate speech and fake news, because the digital forensic scientists are the people that know where this information is coming from and how to detect these sorts of things.

Scott: Another exciting area in our digital forensics applications is in the area of business. So a lot of large companies have a lot of their assets now in the online space, and they obviously want to be protecting those assets from things like intrusion, threats or incidences that might have data being stolen or people’s information being stolen. So the idea of cyber security is also a really big area that digital forensic science can be employed into because you understand what the threats are and how to detect them. You can then advise people on how to prevent them from occurring. Businesses also use them on a more personal level because they can look into fraud and personnel issues that that might have occurred. So this could be looking into emails that people might have sent to competing companies, or if there was a cyber attack recovering any lost or deleted files that might have disappeared. So we can see that forensics, digital forensic science has quite a few different areas that it can move into, and it’s quite a growing space. And by the time our graduates probably finish this course, they’re probably going to be a lot more areas that they can move into because it is as it’s growing so rapidly.

Scott: So some of the careers that digital forensic scientists can look forward to potentially moving into, there are those sort of forensic analysts and working for the police force in the digital forensics teams. If there is a cyber security incident or things like that, there are specific roles as an incident responder. Defense is an also a really big area. We obviously have a lot of national security and concerns that we have online that we want to protect. So, again, there is there’s a need for digital forensic scientists to work there. As I mentioned earlier, the private sector. So very large companies, things like Google, Facebook, Amazon, all the major banks and consultancy firms like Deloitte and PWC all have some form of online presence and cyber security need as part of their companies. But another really interesting area that is not really applicable to other areas of forensic science is that digital forensics can also lead to some entrepreneurial possibilities. So there are a lot more private based digital forensic firms just because there is such a high demand for those people with those sorts of skill sets.

Scott: So just to give you a bit more information about the course. Now, we have very much tried to provide our students with a mix of the core forensic subjects, as well as the core sort of IT subjects, so that we get that sort of balance from our graduates there so that they can approach a forensic problem, both from the IT perspective, but also still have that forensic mindset that all of our other forensic science graduates will have. So we start off very basic in our first year where we look at the basics of programming, networking and security fundamentals. We then move into very specialised subjects, things like digital trace and identity, where we actually start to look at how do we investigate digital crimes and what sort of information can we extract from people’s mobile phones or hardware. And from there, how do we provide information to other investigators. Then in the, we then look into things like cyber security and how there is a, more larger aspects and not just individual investigations, but that sort of threat detection, intrusions and those sorts of things that are, again, a really big area of interest for a lot of different employers. There are some opportunities for you to take electives throughout so you can obviously take some more IT based electives if you wish, or you might want to look into some of the more forensic centralised electives there.

Scott: So, as I said, I’ve sort of summarised it a bit, but we want our students to have the fundamental skills in programming, network and digital forensic investigation so that they can have the knowledge and tools to detect and exploit the digital traces, which, as you know, I have sort of been alluding to – it is kind of the new DNA of forensic science just because it is growing at such a rapid rate. The career options are quite diverse, probably more diverse than other areas in forensic science. And as I mentioned, we do have quite a lot of elective opportunities for students. They can look more into mobile networks, Internet of things, or the data analytics in cyber security. So there are quite a lot of things that our graduates can look into.

Scott: So how do you apply? This is all the information here about your applications. So the course code is still the same. It’s still 607020, the same as all the other forensic science majors. You will choose your major once you get enrolled into the course. So the course code is exactly the same. You then choose your major once you get into UTS.

Scott: And if you are at all interested, you can combine this degree with other studies. So the Bachelor of Arts and International Studies, the Bachelor of Law and the Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation. Those are all some courses that you can combine with the Bachelor of Forensic Science and the Digital Forensic Science Major.

Scott: So if you do have any questions or anything like that, this Tuesday, we will be hosting a Forensic Science Live question and answer where I’ll be there, as well as some people from admissions and also some past and present students to hopefully give you a bit more information about this course if you do have any questions. And it’s on Thursday, the 1st of September at 4:00 p.m. and you need to go to in order to register for that event there.

Scott: So just want to say thank you for listening. And hopefully I provided a bit more information about our digital forensic science major and if you do have any other questions, you can always get in contact with us. You can email or head to our website. And one last thing. If you want to follow us on social media, you can get up to date with all the exciting things that are happening at UTS in science and in forensic science in particular. All right. Thank you very much.