Computer forensics is the collection (seizure), processing, and analysis of digital information such that this information (evidence) can be successfully admitted into a court of law. It is interdisciplinary in its nature, including topics and tools from computer engineering, computer science, information technology, network engineering, telecommunications, law, and ethics. Although related to information security, computer forensics is a discipline unto itself. In the last 20 years, computer forensics has evolved into its own industry. Once primarily focused on supporting criminal prosecutions, computer forensics now also supports civil prosecutions and the enforcement of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (Pub. L. No. 107-204, 116 Stat. 745).
The M.S. in Computer Forensics will prepare students for careers in industry, government, and academia by combining academic education with real-world practical techniques. Emphasis is placed in the program on training students to use and apply computer forensics methods and knowledge in a variety of scenarios. Computer forensic examiners (CFE) work in both the public and private sectors, and the Washington, D.C. area is home to a large work force of CFEs. These CFEs work for the FBI, DEA, and Secret Service, as well as with the vast majority of Inspectors General and local police departments. Practically all of the major accounting and consulting firms employ computer forensic examiners on staff, and there is a growing cadre of independent consultants that work in this field.