Getting Started in Forensic Research

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Interested in getting involved in computer forensics research? Here's how to start.

Recommended Reading

  1. Read the proceedings for the past four years of the DFRWS conference. If a specific article looks interesting, download it and read it!
  1. Review the proceedings from the past few years of the IEEE/SADFE (Systematic Approaches to Digital Forensics Engineering) workshops. The papers do not appear on the website, but you can generally find them with Google by searching for the title in quotes.
  1. Review the IFIP Working Group 11.9 on Digital Forensics website and look at the proceedings from the past conferences (unfortunately, you can't download the papers and the book costs more than $100, but if you see something interesting it can usually be requested via interlibrary loan) (Some higher education libraries subscribe to SpringerLink which makes full text of these proceedings available to students and faculty as part of the school subscription)
  1. Search for interesting forensic terms at the ACM Digital Library and CiteSeer
  2. Review the Sleuth Kit Website. In particular, review the issues of The Sleuth Kit Informer and download a copy of Sleuth Kit for your computer.

Setting up a C++ development environment

Many people working in forensics find it useful to be able to compile their tools from source code. Most of the tools compile on Linux, Mac, and within the Cygwin environment under Windows.

Because all of these tools build upon one another, it is important to compile and install them in the order specified below.


  1. Download a copy of libewf and install it on your computer.
  2. Download a copy of [
  3. Download a copy of Sleuthkit and install it.


Exercises for the Reader

  1. Download a few of the public corpora from the Digital Corpora website and give them a try.
  2. Try your hand at the HoneyNet Project Challenges. They are a little older, but are still valid. Plus there are solutions from previous attempts online!