By Huw Read, PhD, Director of Advanced Computing and Digital Forensics
The Nintendo 3DS with its face-tracking, video-streaming, and Internet-surfing capabilities is now just one more digital device considered for examination during criminal investigations.
My research, “A Forensic Methodology for the Analysis of a Nintendo 3DS,” details the results of an empirical study conducted on a portable games console more commonly associated with the younger generation. As shocking as it may seem, the device, and those similar to it, have already been part of digital forensics investigations involving children.
This January, I presented the paper to the 12th Annual International Federation of Information Processing Working Group 11.9, (IFIP) held at the Lalit Hotel in New Delhi, India, on January 4-6.
Described as “an active international community of scientists, engineers, and practitioners dedicated to advancing the state of the art of research and practice in the emerging field of digital forensics,” this is a peer-reviewed conference with each paper going through at least three independent reviewers who are experts in the field. The visit to the Indian capital of 19 million was quite an opportunity for my own experiential learning.
As if on cue for research validation, shortly after getting back from India I received an email from law enforcement in Ohio asking for a copy of the paper because of a case they were working on. I was told the forensics agent involved did his version of the “Law Enforcement Limbo” after getting the draft.
The majority of this research was conducted with a former student of mine while I was working at my former role in the University of South Wales. I guided an undergraduate student, Elizabeth Thomas, towards developing a forensic methodology for the analysis of the Nintendo 3DS. Her year-long research project (similar in style to Prof. Hansen’s CS capstone in Norwich) took her through the initial literature review, design and development of a methodology, and finally into evaluating whether the methodology itself was sound. The quality of the work was excellent, good enough to consider for publication. We then set about updating it and turning the thesis into an academic paper for peer-review. Thomas is now a consultant for Coalfire Systems Inc. located in Manchester, England, and also a published author in her field.
Being at Norwich University helped me push through the final aspects of the paper and helped to finish the experiments. It was then submitted, peer-reviewed and accepted to IFIP. I am thankful to the university for helping to fund the travel to India to present the work. I hope to continue to contribute to Norwich by encouraging students to partake in further interesting research opportunities and send our young scholars to international conferences to present more cutting-edge research.