Research Topics

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Research Ideas

Interested in doing research in computer forensics? Looking for a master's topic, or just some ideas for a research paper? Here is my list. Please feel free to add your own ideas.

Hard Problems

  • Stream Based Disk Forensics. Process the entire disk with one pass, or at most two, to minimize seek time.
  • Determine the device that created an image or video without metadata. (fingerprinting digital cameras)
  • Automatically detect falsified digital evidence.
  • Use the location of where data resides on a computer as a way of inferring information about the computer's past.
  • Detect and diagnose sanitization attempts.
  • Recover overwritten data.

Tool Development


  • Evaluation of the AFF data page size. What is the optimal page size for compressed forensic work?
  • Replacement of the AFF "BADFLAG" approach for indicating bad data with a bitmap.
  • Modify aimage so that it can take a partial disk image and a disk and just image what's missing.
  • Improve the data recovery features of aimage.
  • Replace AFF's current table-of-contents system with one based on B+ Trees.

Decoders and Validators

  • A JPEG decompresser that supports restarts and checkpointing for use in high-speed carving. It would also be useful it the JPEG decompressor didn't actually decompress --- all it needs to do is to verify the huffman table.

Cell Phones

Open source tools for:

  • Imaging the contents of a cell phone memory
  • Reassembling information in a cell phone memory

Flash Memory

Flash memory devices such as USB keys implement a wear leveling algorithm in hardware so that frequently rewritten blocks are actually written to many different physical blocks. Are there any devices that let you access the raw flash cells underneath the wear leveling chip? Can you get statistics out of the device? Can you access pages that have been mapped out (and still have valid data) but haven't been mapped back yet? Can you use this as a technique for accessing deleted information?

Corpora Development

Realistic Corpora

  • Simulated disk imags
  • Simulated network traffic