SYTECH DIGITAL FORENSICS TO OPEN NEW DIGITAL FORENSIC LABORATORY IN WARWICKSHIRE
SYTECH are delighted to announce that they are to open a new Digital Forensic laboratory in Alcester, south-west Warwickshire.
Following the successful winning of two major digital forensic contracts for Law Enforcement, SYTECH are opening their fourth laboratory to help service their client’s needs, and Law Enforcement generally across the UK. The laboratory will be a “full-service” facility with mobile device, computer and cell-site forensics on site.
The site is due to open in early summer 2016 and SYTECH is therefore looking to receive applications for the following positions:
SYTECH brings together leading-edge specialists in all areas of Digital Forensics to provide a comprehensive one-stop analysis service. We work with all sectors and have over the years been involved in thousands of cases, including many high profile cases. The HQ is in Stoke with offices in Swansea and Newport.
Iain Macleod is an MComp (Hons) Computer Forensics graduate who now works for Stoke-on-Trent, Newport & Swansea – based Digital Forensic company, SYTECH. He reveals how he ‘worked backwards’ to achieve his new role as a Digital Forensic Analyst.
“I was in my late thirties when I decided that I needed a changed of career. Due to new family commitments I also needed to be able to study alongside being a house husband. At the time, I worked as a bank care support worker, so my first plan was to pursue nursing.
“However, my wife suggested I explore something to do with computers or forensics, as I was very interested in computers and had an obsession for forensics on TV and in books. I researched both potential careers and came across the role of Digital Forensic Analyst. I then worked backwards to get the qualifications that would allow me to get that career.
“I phoned the University of South Wales and spoke to the Associate Head of Computing and Mathematics, who sounded so excited and passionate about the computer forensic course, that by the time he had finished telling me what it entailed, I really wanted to give it a go.
“The best thing about becoming a student was that after years of thinking I couldn’t do any better with my education and career, the realisation that with a little bit of direction, training, and belief from my peers and lecturers, I could achieve anything.
“My current role at Sytech (Systems Technology Consultants) is to analyse and investigate forensically extracted data, using a range of digital forensic software and techniques. My role also involves reading through case paperwork provided by the police force, in order to gain a full understanding of the alleged and potential criminal offences involved in the investigation I’m working on.
“I find the whole job interesting, and at times it can be extremely exciting and rewarding. My career choice came before the degree choice, so to achieve the position of Digital Forensic Analyst straight out of university is a dream come true. This is especially the case with a company such as Sytech, who have an advanced digital forensic laboratory and specifically employ graduates with relevant degrees.
“I’m looking forward to gaining further training in report writing and courtroom training, as well as potentially completing my EnCase Certification (EnCE) with an external trainer and becoming an expert witness within this field of digital forensics.
“My advice to anyone considering the MComp (Hons) Computer Forensics course is study hard, listen and research, and you will succeed on this course and get the career you want.”
“I was looking for a change of career and thought computer forensics sounded very interesting. I wanted a career that was challenging and non-repetitive. During the practical tutorials in the dedicated forensic lab I began to really enjoy the topic, but when it really clicked for me was during my final year project. I became obsessed and would stay in the labs as late as I possibly could, often being asked to leave by campus security so that they could lock the building!”
Why did you decide to study at the University of South Wales?
“The University of South Wales has an outstanding reputation within the industry and I wanted to maximise the value of my degree. Had I not been able to study computer forensics at the University of South Wales, I would not have pursued a career in digital forensics.
“The University of South Wales works closely with the industry of digital forensics in creating its course content. Exposure to advanced forensic techniques such as CCTV reconstruction, forensic data recovery, and chip-off and J-TAG analysis provides students with skills vastly exceeding those of other institutions and a solid foundation upon which to build their careers.”
How did the course challenge and inspire you?
“Dr Huw Read is an excellent lecturer and instilled a new method of thinking within me. Digital forensics is about thinking outside the box, it’s looking at new devices and seeing beyond their hardware capabilities and understanding the functionalities available to the user. It’s about working around the challenges presented by security measures and providing solutions to complex problems. Trust me when I say that there is no greater feeling than that moment when you have overcome a significant challenge. Only when we push ourselves do we discover what we are truly capable of!”
Tell us a bit more about your research?
“My final year project involved creating a forensically sound method of analysing an 8th generation games console. I was given access to a dedicated postgraduate research lab and became obsessed with overcoming the challenges presented by the device. I established a method that does not alter any data during the analysis process. I was awarded a mark of 76% and invited by University lecturers to continue my research during the summer period. In October 2014, I submitted an academic paper at the Digital Forensics Research Conference (DFRWS) Europe’s largest digital forensics conference. In March of 2015, I became a published author and travelled to Ireland to present my work in front of over 200 attendees.”
What does the day-to-day role of a Digital Forensic Analyst entail?
“On a daily basis, I conduct both prosecution and defence examinations of embedded devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, Satellite Navigation Systems, games consoles, etc. The nature of the cases I am involved in range from indecent images of children to missing persons and murder investigations. The role also involves travelling around the country conducting on-site extractions of mobile devices and providing expert witness testimony in a court of law.”
How do you feel your course helped prepare you for your job at SYTECH?
“Although I enrolled on the MComp (Hons) Computer Forensics course offered by the University, I withdrew from the course early, as I was offered my position at SYTECH after graduating with the BSc (Hons) Computer Forensics. I now provide lectures at the University of South Wales to provide guidance on the skills required by industry.”
What are your next steps?
“The next step in my career is to undertake further study at the University of South Wales. I am currently in the process of preparing my PhD research proposal and aim to begin my studies in January of 2016. My aspirations are to make a significant impact in the field of digital forensics and for my name to stand for integrity, honesty and professionalism.”
What advice would you give to someone considering studying a degree?
“If you feel as though you are not ‘brainy’ enough, just remember that when I started out I didn’t have any qualifications, I was never any good in school and I’m dyslexic. Now, I’m a graduate, a published author, employed as a Digital Forensic Analyst at a fantastic organisation that believes in me and has faith in my abilities; so much so that they have offered to fund my PhD studies.” Matt was interviewed by industry publication, Forensic Focus earlier in the year. Read the article to find out more about Matt’s research on the forensic analysis of a Sony PS4 and how he thinks the industry will evolve over the next few years.
Rachael Medhurst graduated from the MSc Computer Forensics course and now works for SYTECH – Digital Forensics. She tells us how her course helped prepare her for her career.
“I’ve always had an interest in ICT and became particularly interested in the forensics side of computing after completing my BTEC National Diploma at college. I decided to start researching careers in the forensics field and then looked into universities that offered a forensic computing degree.
“I decided to study at the University of South Wales after attending Open Days, where I discovered they offered access to the computing equipment and labs that I was looking for, along with a supportive team of staff.
“I gained a 2:1 at degree level and then decided to take my studies a step further by completing a postgraduate course. I felt this would allow me to gain more skills and experience, such as mobile phone forensics – including chip-off forensics and malware analysis – and ultimately make me more employable. The University offered job fairs where I met ICT companies looking for forensic computing graduates, which gave me lots of information in preparation for my graduation from the course.
“There were certain aspects of the course that I found challenging and it is hard work, especially as I was working full-time alongside my studies. However, talking to lecturers about their previous experiences of forensic work, and those of the visiting professional who also came in to talk to us about their involvement in the industry was inspiring. This enabled me to remain focused, as I saw the end result that is possible if you’re prepared to work hard enough.
“I now work for SYTECH – Digital Forensics (Systems Technology Consultants) as a Graduate Digital Forensic Analyst. I’ve just completed three months training in Stoke-on-Trent and will now fulfil the rest of my role in Newport. SYTECH offer expert assistance with all technologies and work with both prosecution and defence for a range of police forces across the country.
“Throughout my time at SYTECH so far, I’ve been trained in the imaging department, where devices are checked in and then taken apart to get to the hard drive, which is imaged using FTK (Forensic Toolkit). Once the hard drives have been imaged, they are then extracted. I have also now progressed to the analysis stage, where I am able to use a range of software to analyse the hard drive. My role also involves reading through paperwork provided by the police force about cases, to gain a full understanding of the potential criminal offence. I’m looking forward to gaining further training in report writing and courtroom training next, as well as potentially completing my EnCase Certification (EnCE) with an external trainer, which is valued in this field.
“My Masters course helped me prepare for this role by enabling me to develop further skills that I feel helped me to stand out at interview. In particular, my experience on the course with imaging, the use of industry software such as FTK and EnCase, plus the ability to maintain the integrity of hard drives by following the correct policies and procedures.”
SYTECH, one of the longest standing Digital Forensic companies in the United Kingdom as well as being a leading supplier of Digital Forensics services, are proud to announce the official opening of a new Advanced and State of the Art Digital Forensics Laboratory in Newport, Gwent.
Our new Lab facilities form an integral part of SYTECHs’ Digital Forensics network, enabling our current and future clients in Wales, the South West of England and the Midlands to more easily access our expanding network and work with one of the leading UK Solutions for Digital Forensic Investigations.
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