The LCDI was asked to participate in Champlain College’s Imagine College program. The program is a six-day summer immersion program designed to help high school students make college a part of their reality and give them tools to navigate the college process. High school students came from Vermont, Massachusetts and New York to attend this program. On Monday July 9th, 2012 the LCDI held a classroom presentation on Computer and Digital Forensics. During the presentation we introduced the students to the history behind computer and digital forensics, highlighted sub-fields under Computer and Digital Forensics, and conducted demonstrations on some of the hardware and software used both in the field and at the LCDI. The students also got a chance to come back and visit the LCDI lab and got a better understanding of the work that we do at the LCDI and in computer and digital forensics in general.
LCDI’s Project Manager Joseph Williams lead the presentation on Monday and was accompanied by LCDI’s summer interns and summer volunteer. Here are the feedback from the interns and volunteer about the presentation:
Forensics Intern Joshua Lowery: For the July 9th Imagine College event I presented the topic of Networking Forensics to the class. It is a hard subject to teach to those without a decent background in networking or computer literature, as some of the vocabulary used is very specific and hard to understand. I took lots of time preparing for this class by trying to find a project that would be easy for the kids to understand, while at the same time, being “flashy” and interesting. I reviewed a whole host of tools that would be easy to use and required little work for the kids to get them running. Teaching high school kids a very technical topic, especially when most of them don’t have a background in forensics, is very challenging, but I feel that my coworkers and I did a great job keeping them involved and interested throughout the class. I think the idea of the Imagine College program is great; giving kids a chance to experience something unique and hopefully motivating them to strive for higher learning. The kids that I had a chance to talk to were fun and a few were interested in the field. They also asked questions about how we got into the field, which made me happy. Inspiring kids to set goals in life is an amazing experience and I am glad I got the opportunity to help them do that.
Forensics Intern Catherine Stamm: The section I focused on was Anti-Forensics. To prepare for this, I wrote down some of the most important aspects of Anti-Forensics. This included data hiding, artifact wiping, and trail alteration. Then for each of these areas I figured out what they consisted of (steganography, cryptography, log cleaners, disk degaussing, etc.) and created an outline based on that. I presented two demos; one for cryptography and one for steganography. These are probably the most interesting methods of anti-forensics, so they were the main focus of my presentation. When it came to actually teaching my topic, it wasn’t as terrible as I anticipated. It was a bit difficult to explain Anti-Forensics in a way that thirty 10th graders with little technical background could understand, but they seemed to grasp the basic concepts. They gave me some good answers to my questions and were really quick to figure out the cryptography exercises, which made me impressed. I don’t really know much about Imagine College, but I think it’s a great concept. The students were good listeners and asked a lot of great questions throughout the class. They all were very respectful and, of course, there were a few outspoken ones who kept us laughing. Overall, this class was fun and a great learning experience for not only the high school students, but me as well. If the opportunity ever arose, I would definitely do something like this again.
Forensics Intern Ethan Fleisher: I taught a variety of topics, including: digital storage, WinHex, the root directory, as well as demonstrating what a full forensic investigation would look like. Preparation for this event took quite a while for me, as I had a lot to prepare. It was necessary for me to rebuild a demo of WinHex, starting from scratch and essentially re-teaching it to myself. I also created a handout for each student so they could get a better understanding of this technical area. Along with this, I created a handout and demonstration for how to create a forensic image with FTK Imager, and how to view the image using FTK 1.86. It was relatively easy to do, but took a while to make sure that everything was worded correctly and easy for a lay person to understand. In the end, I took the powerpoint slides that each person created and put them together into a Prezi for use during the presentation. Teaching and giving demo’s to high school students wasn’t very hard or intimidating. If anything, it was a little overwhelming because there were thirty students and I had to plan out how long each part of my demo would take. I expected some things to take 2 minutes that ended up taking 10, and vice versa. It made the process hard to complete in a timely manner, but in the end it worked out and was very fun. I think Imagine College is a great way for prospective students, and young students alike, to get a glimpse of what college is like. It’s a great way for kids to get into the real world of college and see what dorm life is like, what college cafeterias are like, the structure of the classes and classrooms, and a great way for them to meet new people. I can almost guarantee I would have enjoyed something like this back in high school. The kids that we got to teach were great. They were all pretty engaged in what we were teaching them, asking questions to us, and pulling us aside after to talk more. It was a lot of fun to talk to people 6-7 years younger than myself about the things I get to do and give them advice on what to do. From what I can see, the generation coming up behind me has good things ahead of them. They seem very inspired and are definitely going to do well in life.
Forensics Volunteer Jake Viens: I demonstrated Cellebrite UFED Physical Pro cell phone extraction tool. I had to learn how to use Cellebrite before the presentation because I had no previous experience with the tool. Teaching the demo was stressful but enjoyable. The students were interested in what I was presenting, and I was able to clearly get all of my points across so the demonstration was a success. Imagine college is a good thing for high school students. Having the kids experience a week of college before they decide to go to college is something that should be done for all high school students. This week will help the students prepare for college by introducing them to the conditions of college living. I know my expectations of college were far from the truth and something like this would have helped me. I was impressed by the students. The lessons that they were being taught were above most of their skill levels, yet they were always paying attention, asking questions, and getting help. They never gave up despite the challenges and they left the classroom with a greater understanding of the field.