Profile: Huw Read, NU’s New Director of Advanced Computing and Digital Forensics

Profile: Huw Read, NU’s New Director of Advanced Computing and Digital Forensics

By Jess Clarke

As an undergraduate studying software engineering, Huw Read was introduced to computer forensics by a professor. Read was hooked from the start by the combination of computing, forensics, security, and law that digital forensics offers.

“I have always been a bit of a geek at heart,” the Wales native says.

Meeting like-minded students at Norwich University inspired Read to accept the position of associate professor and director of the Norwich University Center for Advanced Computing and Digital Forensics this year
“It really was students’ enthusiasm about digital forensics. They are really keen to absorb as much as possible about the subject and make a difference in the world,” Read says.

He looks forward to “the opportunity to teach a new group of students with a different way of thinking and, for myself, learning how the U.S. education system works.”.

Read began his academic career as a research assistant in 2004, working on improving tools for digital forensics. In 2009 he earned his PhD from the University of Glamorgan (now the University of South Wales) in the United Kingdom. There, Read became a lecturer and later a senior lecturer and course leader specializing in computer forensics. He taught advanced undergraduate and graduate classes, as well as courses in penetration testing, system security, and administration.

He also consulted on classified UK government and military projects, some of which influenced government policy.

At Norwich, Read plans to incorporate scenario-based learning into computing and digital forensic programs.

“Rather than assessing and grading individual technical exercises, I want to provide work that is more reflective of the world in which the students may find themselves,” Read says.

He also plans to pursue a research agenda and a build a “hack space” for students, referring to a research space with forensic and other security tools, soldering stations, and additional hardware that would enable students to work on memory chips and other outside projects.

“Basically, if a student has an idea but needs some physical [gear] to extract or analyze information, I want to help them do it,” he says.

Najiba Benabess, associate professor and director of Norwich’s School of Business and Management, says, “Students and faculty just fell in love with him. His teaching style is really good. I’m sure he will move our program to the next level.”

This semester, Read is teaching Network Forensics, Computer Forensics I, and Cyber Investigation. Next semester, he will teach Computer Forensics I for criminal justice majors, Malware Forensics, and a Cyber Defense Practicum.

In his spare time, the married father of two enjoys swimming, learning new technology, and playing video games.

More on Cybersecurity at Norwich:

Norwich University has been at the forefront of cybersecurity issues since the late 1990s.

Ranked #2 for cybersecurity in the U.S by the Ponemon Institute, Norwich University programs are consistently ranked among the best in the nation for cybersecurity education. Norwich University is recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and has been designated a Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence (CDFAE) by the Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3).