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Introduction to computer forensics and investigations

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With a few easily available tools people can reveal the stored passwords on their computer and access previously deleted data. Learn about some of the issues in data privacy and computer forensics. This free course, Introduction to computer forensics and investigations, provides practical demonstration in a clear and accessible format.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the role of computer forensics in the business and private world
  • identify some of the current techniques and tools for forensic examinations
  • describe and identify basic principles of good professional practice for a forensic computing practitioner
  • Apply forensic tools in different situations.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 6 hours
  • Updated Thursday 24th March 2016
  • Intermediate level
  • Posted under Computing and ICT
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Introduction to computer forensics and investigations


Unit image

Computer forensics is an exciting area, often glamorised (and its capabilities exaggerated) in films and television shows like CSI, NCIS and Spooks. You may have heard the area described using slightly different words, each of which may bring to mind different activities.

Activity 1

Write down all the topics that you can think of that might be encompassed by the term ‘computer forensics and investigations’.


Here are some of the names we thought of; your list should include at least some of these:

  • computer forensics
  • forensic computing
  • forensic science
  • digital forensics
  • network forensics
  • ICT forensics
  • forensic investigations
  • digital investigations
  • business continuity
  • incident response
  • computer policing
  • high-tech crime investigation
  • computer security
  • incident management.

Whether you have come from an area where you have acquired knowledge of ‘the nuts and bolts’ of how computers operate (but have had very little experience of investigations or legal aspects), or come from a management, legal, or investigatory background (but have little practical knowledge of the insides of computers and software) then this free course, Introduction to computer forensics and investigations, is for you. Part of the interest and excitement of the area of digital investigations is that it is multi-disciplinary and there are always new things to learn. This course will be quite a challenge but we hope you will find it stimulating and exciting, as well as of considerable practical value.This OpenLearn course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Computing courses or view the range of currently available OU Computing & IT courses.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Postgraduate level study in Mathematics [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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