Digital forensics is the collection (seizure), processing, and analysis of electronic 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, digital forensics is a discipline unto itself. In the last 20 years, digital forensics has evolved into its own industry. Once primarily focused on supporting criminal prosecutions, digital forensics now also supports civil prosecutions, incident response (both internal and external), and weaponized code analysis. Digital forensics is not just one particular area of study, but several: digital media, memory analysis, network analysis, mobile devices, and malware/reverse engineering.
The M.S. in Digital 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 digital forensics methods and knowledge in a variety of scenarios. Digital forensic examiners work in both the public and private sectors, and the Washington, D.C. area is home to a large digital forensic work force. These examiners work for the FBI, DEA, Secret Service, Defense Department, as well as with the vast majority of Inspectors General and local police departments. Practically all of the major accounting and consulting firms employ digital forensic examiners on staff, and there is a growing cadre of independent consultants that work in this field.