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si2013
(@si2013)
Junior Member

I see some Universities list 'computer human interaction' or CHI as a module for computer forensics. I'm pretty sure the University of Sunderlands offers this module. Is it good? Is it relevant to forensics? I've done a little bit of reading and from the limited knowledge I have of CHI, I'm wondering if it will be useful for a forensic investigator. Anyone here know more about it?

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Posted : 16/08/2013 8:54 pm
jaclaz
(@jaclaz)
Community Legend

I see some Universities list 'computer human interaction' or CHI as a module for computer forensics. I'm pretty sure the University of Sunderlands offers this module. Is it good? Is it relevant to forensics? I've done a little bit of reading and from the limited knowledge I have of CHI, I'm wondering if it will be useful for a forensic investigator. Anyone here know more about it?

If you consider that (was Metro) NCI (Nameless Crappy Interface) is likely to have been developed by people that studied that in recent years, it would seem that it is completely irrelevant, not only in forensics wink .

Are you sure it is "computer human interaction" (CHI) and not "human computer interaction" (HCI)?

Have you got a link to the course/whatever?
This one
http//www.sunderland.ac.uk/faculties/apsc/study/coursedetails/index.php?cid=617
puts HCI as an introductory topic at level 1.

The parts related to study "human behaviour" in the actual use of a device might provide some usefulness (though cannot say how much that is "HCI", and the particular set of "HCI" teachings done in that course) when it comes to things like

  1. finding passwords (or places where they are stored)
  2. finding hidden contents
  3. define usage (routine) patterns
  4. [/listo]
    but that is more or less (IMHO) all there is in it that may have some relevance/connection with digital forensics.

    jaclaz

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Posted : 16/08/2013 10:13 pm
si2013
(@si2013)
Junior Member

Sorry I think I was wrong with the acronym P You're right, it's human computer interaction. Leeds Met have it as an optional module in the 3rd year of the computer forensics course

http//courses.leedsmet.ac.uk/computerforensics

(under modules).

I couldn't figure out why these Universities offer it because it looks like it has nothing to do with computer forensics and seems completely useless. You kinda confirmed my thoughts though. Glad I didn't pick it!

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Posted : 16/08/2013 10:55 pm
jaclaz
(@jaclaz)
Community Legend

Sorry I think I was wrong with the acronym P You're right, it's human computer interaction. Leeds Met have it as an optional module in the 3rd year of the computer forensics course

http//courses.leedsmet.ac.uk/computerforensics

(under modules).

I couldn't figure out why these Universities offer it because it looks like it has nothing to do with computer forensics and seems completely useless. You kinda confirmed my thoughts though. Glad I didn't pick it!

Well, it seems to me that in that course ALL the third year Option modules

Option Modules
Advanced Software Engineering A
Advanced Software Engineering B
Advanced Internet Development A
Advanced Internet Development B
Artificial Intelligence in Business
Human Computer Interaction
IT Systems Strategy
Open Source Systems
Advanced Databases A
Advanced Databases B

Exception made - maybe - for the "advanced software engineering" and the "advanced databases", and possibly only the latter ones, may be of some interest/relevance/use.

I am personally notoriously grumpy and somehow anti-academic 😯 , but when I see

Year 1
Web Development
Explore the technologies that support web site development - you'll design a site, implement current standards and evaluate your work.

Year 2
Internet Systems Development (Option Module)
Learn about server side web development to the point where you can build a basic database driven dynamic interactive website.

I cannot but confirm my gut feeling that some of these "specialistic" computer forensic courses are "generic introduction to computer science"+ "generic introduction to collection and preservation of (electronic) evidence" + a few (good or lousy) labs with some common tools going over (possibly outdated) "expressly built in simplified manner" test cases.

jaclaz

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Posted : 16/08/2013 11:39 pm
si2013
(@si2013)
Junior Member

I totally agree. I think it's awful that people pay such a high amount of money and get very little in return. I don't understand why courses don't revolve around modules consisting of EnCase, FTK, Linux tools, Linux Distro's e.g Deft or Kali etc Instead there's web development and the like. Very disappointing to say the least.

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Posted : 17/08/2013 12:51 am
athulin
(@athulin)
Community Legend

You're right, it's human computer interaction. […]

I couldn't figure out why these Universities offer it because it looks like it has nothing to do with computer forensics and seems completely useless.

Perhaps these universities have a different understanding or approach of the subject than you? (Incidentally, the difference between HCI and CHI is not that large – one of the main journals in the area of HCI is 'ACM Transaction on Computer-Human Interaction'.)

Me, I think CHI/HCI is quite relevant to the subject of computer forensics. But that's because I consider the field of computer forensics to be based on knowledge of computers, computer systems, and how these are maintained, managed and used by users, computer administrators, etc. The knowledge of how users interact with a computer (and sometimes vice versa) is clearly relevant for the area of computer forensics. To someone doing only IIOC/CP day in and day out, it's probably as unimportant as analytical solutions of differential equations, though.

That also means that application design is important – which includes web site implementation. Computer intrusions by means of web site weaknesses are very common – and if you want to be able to trace them, you really have to understand how they are constructed, and even designed.

As regards CHI is particular, just consider the various means a user has of requesting an action. For example, if you're involved in a case of spoliation of evidence or illegal transfer of funds or information, proving intent becomes very important. If you find that the central dialog box from which the central action was ordered has a [OK] button and a [Cancel] button, it may seem clearcut. Hiwever, if you also find that the [OK] button is the default one (contrary to UI principles, which generally state that irrevocable actions should never be default actions), you have found reasons why intent may not be the only explanation. And if you find that the keyboard short-cut Alt-C or ESC (which I believe is the default for the Cancel button) for some reason was tied to the [OK] button instead, there is additional reasons for allowing something else than intent to be behind the action involved.

That kind of examination may be obvious to an average CF examiner – what I would expect the CHI course would help do is to change from a 'may be' into 'will be' for anyone who has taken this particular set of courses.

To a medical student who intends to focus on endocrinology, osteology may seem unimportant, but it is still part of the basic medical education. If you are planning to get an *education* suitable for working in computer forensics, I would recommend that you do not discard areas that may seem irrelevant at first. I would also suggest you ask whoever is responsible for the course or the curriculum for any explanations you are more likely to get the right answer that way. After all, what I see as valuable just could be entirely unintended.

In a later posting you say
> I don't understand why courses don't revolve around modules consisting of EnCase, FTK, Linux tools,
>Linux Distro's e.g Deft or Kali etc Instead there's web development and the like. Very disappointing to say the least.

There is a difference between education and training – and universities in general have a tradition of focusing on the former rather than the latter. If the courses taught CHI and perhaps also programming before you were allowed to do something like 'introduction to CF' or 'Basic CF Analysis', I'd probably be concerned.

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Posted : 17/08/2013 1:26 pm
jaclaz
(@jaclaz)
Community Legend

Me, I think CHI/HCI is quite relevant to the subject of computer forensics. But that's because I consider the field of computer forensics to be based on knowledge of computers, computer systems, and how these are maintained, managed and used by users, computer administrators, etc. The knowledge of how users interact with a computer (and sometimes vice versa) is clearly relevant for the area of computer forensics.

If the courses taught CHI and perhaps also programming before you were allowed to do something like 'introduction to CF' or 'Basic CF Analysis', I'd probably be concerned.

Well, it seems like those UNI's cited do not consider it at the same level as you do (and also not at the same level between them).

The Leeds met puts it as option module on third year (i.e. well after the "basics", but still as "option"), whilst Sunderland puts as the very first (before "programming").

I have the doubt that besides the above, your concept oh CHI/HCI (or actually the parts of it that are relevant for computer forensics) is different from what the actual module topics are
http//proms.leedsmet.ac.uk/main/mod.htm?t=m&i=1041
interesting topics, BTW but IMHO more "generic computer science" than anything, and as a matter of fact the same module is listed as option both in
BUSINESS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
http//courses.leedsmet.ac.uk/main/course.htm?ban=BSBIT
and in
COMPUTING
http//courses.leedsmet.ac.uk/computing

But the general point I was making is that (to remain in the Leeds courses) my impression is that - no matter if "right" or "wrong", there are 4 different courses that are mainly the "same" "generic computer science" give or take a handful of modules, with all the "common" modules somehow "randomly shuffled".

Here is a "matrix" that might be of use to better understand what I am trying to say
http//s18.postimg.org/6gro6b5y1/Leeds_BSC.jpg

jaclaz

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Posted : 17/08/2013 6:36 pm
si2013
(@si2013)
Junior Member

In a later posting you say
> I don't understand why courses don't revolve around modules consisting of EnCase, FTK, Linux tools,
>Linux Distro's e.g Deft or Kali etc Instead there's web development and the like. Very disappointing to say the least.

There is a difference between education and training – and universities in general have a tradition of focusing on the former rather than the latter. If the courses taught CHI and perhaps also programming before you were allowed to do something like 'introduction to CF' or 'Basic CF Analysis', I'd probably be concerned.

That's correct, Universities do seem to focus on education rather than training and what I mean by that is, they will teach you the very basics and expect you to read up on a subject. That's great…until you come up against something that you haven't been taught, that you cannot find in a book. I remember asking a question in my 2nd year of university about wireshark and the lecturer's reply was 'I don't know if I can tell you that.' My initial thoughts were 'Well, I'm paying for this course, so…you probably should tell me! D )

And I think that's the main problem with University courses. The people teaching clearly know their stuff, but they are very reluctant to share anything beyond the basics, which is a real shame. It almost feels like 'filler' modules. It's not computer-related, but I know people doing drama and art degree's and they're confused why they're not getting any jobs after they've graduated. Some elements of university aren't all they're cracked up to be.

As for me, completing a forensics course, I don't know whether to do a MSc or just get a job with a BSc. Perhaps you may be able to enlighten me on that one?? Because although an MSc would probably be better on my CV, I cannot imagine I'd learn enough to justify the expense.

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Posted : 18/08/2013 12:52 am
minime2k9
(@minime2k9)
Active Member

Took that module at University a few years ago, absolutely rubbish, wouldn't recommend it to anyone!

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Posted : 19/08/2013 1:50 pm
dan0841
(@dan0841)
Member

I see some Universities list 'computer human interaction' or CHI as a module for computer forensics. I'm pretty sure the University of Sunderlands offers this module. Is it good? Is it relevant to forensics? I've done a little bit of reading and from the limited knowledge I have of CHI, I'm wondering if it will be useful for a forensic investigator. Anyone here know more about it?

You will find that most Computer Forensic Degrees are effectively Computer Science Degrees with a few 'Forensic' modules bolted on. I think this generally stems from Unis trying to offer a wider range of degrees but with minimal extra course design.

I studied HCI at both college and Uni level. I can't say that I've found it relevant to my Job as a Forensic Investigator.

However, a lot of the other generic Computer science modules (, Hardware, Programming, Databases, SQL, etc) are very useful.

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Posted : 19/08/2013 4:15 pm
pragmatopian
(@pragmatopian)
Active Member

I consider the field of computer forensics to be based on knowledge of computers, computer systems, and how these are maintained, managed and used by users, computer administrators, etc. The knowledge of how users interact with a computer (and sometimes vice versa) is clearly relevant for the area of computer forensics.

I think this gets to the crux of the issue you generally need a broader understanding of IT to become a well-rounded Digital Forensic practitioner. For that reason I think it's disingenuous for universities to brand degrees as 'Forensic' where the majority of the content is general in nature.

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Posted : 19/08/2013 4:38 pm
Davies259
(@davies259)
New Member

The vast differences in modules studied at varying universities highlights the need to select your university carefully. Its all very well doing a forensics degree, but if your university has no reputation or the modules hold little relevance then your wasting your time.

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Posted : 19/08/2013 5:16 pm
dan0841
(@dan0841)
Member

The vast differences in modules studied at varying universities highlights the need to select your university carefully. Its all very well doing a forensics degree, but if your university has no reputation or the modules hold little relevance then your wasting your time.

That's true, however, when I was an undergrad doing a 'Forensics' degree we used to moan about the lack of (what we thought was) Forensics. We never used to see the value of doing databases, web programming, software development etc etc.

With hindsight, and 4 years in LE forensics, I now know that this was naive and foolish. Some of the most valuable subjects to me turned out to be databases, SQL, binary manipulation, networking etc etc.

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Posted : 19/08/2013 7:39 pm
Davies259
(@davies259)
New Member

Your right, I think modules such as programming, databases, networking etc are useful. My point is that the 3rd year is supposed to be the year in which we specialize. The majority of the 3rd year choice modules posted are covered in either or both the first and second years at Glamorgan and therefore seem a little irreverent to me as 3rd year choice modules.

Also the university you attend does make a difference (Derby, Glamorgan etc). There is one 20 miles from my house offering a Bsc (hons) in Computer Forensics but has no standing or reputation, so I commute 120 miles a day to attend one that does. Mainly because I'm scared of wasting three/four years and thousands of pounds by not getting a job at the end of it. I know there's no guarantee, but it's difficult enough to get into forensics without politics getting in the way.

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Posted : 20/08/2013 3:35 am
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