A Perspective on the History of Digital Forensics

Posted January 27th, 2009 by

Back in 1995 the junior high school students around the world were taken in by a sensationalized and carefully marketed hoax film called Alien Autopsy. Alien Autopsy was in fact a cheap film purporting to be actual footage of an actual autopsy of the cadaver of an extraterrestrial. The film was marketed as footage shot during the famous 1947 Roswell incident.

Alien Autopsy photo by jurvetson.

Well, back in 1995 I was in a mood for a good laugh so I popped up some popcorn, chilled a six-pack of Mountain Dew and kicked up my feet for a little silly entertainment. A couple of friends came over just in time for the show. So, I popped more popcorn, chilled more drinks and we all had a great time giggling, guffawing, and generally acting like a bunch of nitwits having some good clean fun.

Then in 2005, my wife asked if I could sit down with her to watch something called Grey’s Anatomy. Thinking that I was about to relive a guilty pleasure from ten years before, I readily agreed. Let’s face it, a show called Grey’s Anatomy could only be a sequel to the 1995 Alien Autopsy.

Well, having been fooled, I shared my mistake and agony with the guys at work the next day. To say the least, they were amused at the story but entirely at my expense. Some mistakes in life should just never be mentioned again.

I hope that is not the case with today’s comments. Today, I’d like to encourage you all to down load and read my paper on the History of Digital Forensics (.pdf caveat applies). It is based on a paper I presented at NIST’s annual digital forensics conference. However, since the slides from briefings do not read well, I converted the presentation to prose. Dissect it as you think appropriate. That is to say, let me know what you think.

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Posted in NIST, Technical | 2 Comments »

2 Responses

  1.  AJ Says:

    Not a bad write up, but to me it was basically fluffy 10,000 feet stuff. Including efforts to certify methods and labs like ASCLAD would have been a good add on to this, or that courts have a hard time realizing reality from “CSI” shows. Also, each phase of this is still in progress, many organizations are still in phase one, not realizing what they need to do, or that there are services to help. So you could have referenced the fact that many groups are still in various stages of development.

  2.  rybolov Says:

    Good comment. You always have to be careful with whitepapers because you have to cross a huge expanse of skill and experience levels. But yeah, you’re right.

    This might be more of something along a blog post than a whitepaper because the topic fits more in there. I’ll see if I can probe ian99 to get some more words out of him, he’s such an “International Man of Mystery” sometimes. =)

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