Salve Regina University Opens New Digital Forensics Lab

Newport-based Salve Regina University has opened a new digital forensics lab which will provide hands-on practical training for graduates in an “emergent field” according to the university.

The school, based in Rhode Island, says that the new digital forensics lab will enhance education within its ‘Administration of Justice’ department, according to the Providence Journal.

Salve faculty member Brandon Catalan, who is teaching the “Mobile Forensics” course at a graduate level and the “Principles of Forensics” for undergraduates this semester stated:

We can offer students the ability to work on real cases – real law enforcement cases, real terror-threat cases.

The new lab operates independently from the university’s main computer network. This, according to Salve, is “essential since the new teaching environment will include simulating cyber issues as network, malware, and key-logging attacks, virus inoculation and detection, and more. Internet protective and detective systems will be studied. Digital forensics analysis, capable of being upheld in a court of law, will be an important aspect of this practice-based instruction as well.”

Salve has partnered Israeli cybersecurity company Cellebrite to set up the digital forensics lab, with the firm shipping its mobile forensics hardware and software to the new lab. Cellebrite was notably brought in by the FBI to hack into the iPhone belonging to San Bernardino killer Syed Rizwan Farook.

So-called Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device work stations are also being purchased by the university from Raytheon, a major American defense contractor.

“We want this lab to mimic what’s in the real world,” Catalan stated. “What the students are going to come in here and learn – the software that they’re going to learn on, the hardware that they’re going to learn on – they can automatically and instantaneously transition over to an employer right when they walk out of these doors.”

Further, Catalan hopes that the lab will establish a “classified environment for government research” with all the tools available, one that he sees will happen sooner rather than later with the new faculty and the increasing interest in digital forensics as student enrollment swells.

Image credit: Wikimedia.