The BSc (Hons) in Computer Forensics & Security is a four year honours degree course equipping graduates with the specialised skills and knowledge needed to secure, monitor and examine electronic crime scenes and digital environments. This is a computer science degree with a specialism in the securing, monitoring and investigating of computers, digital devices and data. It also covers programming, computer networks, operating systems and web technologies. It allows you to investigate, decode and decipher the digital world in which you live.
People generate vast amounts of data every day with each person leaving a digital footprint across the web. Your data is used by companies to sell you products and to see what you are interested in. Your data is also used by hacktivists, cyber criminal gangs and different states that are engaged in a cyberwar and information war with these companies and with each other. Data, in the 21st century, is more valuable than oil. You need to control and protect your data, and the data of others. Understanding this area allows you to protect everything in your life, such as family, friends, energy, money, transport, even the food and water you consume.
Just as a murder scene needs to be secured so too do electronic crime scenes. There are particular ways of securing evidence and students learn how to do this. Electronic crime scenes often involve child pornography, blackmail, financial fraud and data theft. Criminal prosecutors have used computer forensic evidence to form the backbone in murder cases and robberies through the use of technologies such as mobile phone forensics.
Computer forensics is the application of the scientific method to digital media in order to establish factual information for judicial review. This process often involves investigating computer systems to determine whether they are or have been used for illegal or unauthorised activities.
You will study specialised subjects such as secure programming, cryptography, law, filesystem forensics, network and online forensics, emerging device forensics, and web application security, as well as core computer science subjects such as programming, computer networks, web and mobile application development, maths and statistics, computer and operating systems, and data mining.
You will learn how data works at a low level, how it is stored and accessed on any digital device, what happens when you press File> Save As at the level of 1’s and 0s’. You will discover how to keep your data secure, safe and encrypted. You will be able to sniff packets from a computer network and look inside them or analyse where the traffic on the network is going, and what it is doing. You will examine websites and applications to see how they are vulnerable to attack and will learn how to ethically hack and perform penetration tests on computer systems. You will learn how to use open-source intelligence techniques to ethically find out information about people online and to investigate digital devices such as phones or Internet of Things devices. You will be able to act as an expert witness in court and know how your actions affect evidence. You will discover patterns and trends in data that others don’t see and will be able protect what you do in today’s digital world. This programme differs from the Computer Forensics and Security stream on the BSc (Hons) in Applied Computing by an emphasis on Operating Systems rather than Physics.
|Semester 1||Semester 2|
|Website Development 1||Programming Fundamentals 2|
|Discrete Mathematics||Applied Calculus|
|Programming Fundamentals 1||Computer Systems 2|
|Computer Systems 1||Creative Problem Solving|
|Physics 1||Introduction to Security and Forensics|
|The Computer Industry||Web App Development 1|
|Semester 3||Semester 4|
|Computer Networks||Applied Cryptography|
|Data Structures and Algorithms 1||Data Structures and Algorithms 2|
|File System Forensics||Forensic Accounting and Fraud Audit|
|Mathematical Methods||Secure Programming and Scripting|
|Operating Systems||Software Engineering Practice|
|Relational Databases||Statistics and Probability|
|Semester 5||Semester 6|
|Developer Operations||Each student must choose one of the following:|
|Legal Principles of Computer Forensics||*Industrial Placement 1|
|Network Forensics||*Professional Certification 1|
|NoSQL Databases||*Study Abroad 1|
|Professional Practice||*Voluntary Organisation Project 1|
|Web App Development 2|
|Semester 7||Semester 8|
|Data Mining 1||Free Elective|
|Distributed Systems||Data Mining 2|
|Mobile App Development 1||Device Forensics|
|Network and System Security||Online Forensics|
|Criminal Evidence||Project 2|
2 subjects: H5
4 subjects: O6/H7
English or Irish: O6/H7
The domain of computer security and forensics is growing and has become more essential than ever before. Virtually all organisations now need and use internet technologies (email, the web, ecommerce) in their daily business.
With this growth comes the need to protect sensitive data such as customer’s personal details and credit card information, confidential files and internal documents. Many companies employ full time security personnel to fulfil these roles, whilst other organisations outsource them to external firms.
Insurance companies, corporations, civil litigations, individuals and law enforcement all can and do make use of evidence revealed by computer forensic specialists.
Students who complete the BSc (Hons) in Computer Forensics & Security may avail of a taught or research masters course (MSc) in the area. On completion of an MSc students will have the opportunity to pursue a PhD Course.