Cyber crime internship done remotely

For immediate release: July 19, 2010

BLOOMSBURG — The profusion of computers in the business world allows employees to complete assignments without traveling to the office. The next logical step in today’s technology is enabling a Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania junior to complete a computer forensics internship with a branch of the federal government ... without leaving BU’s campus.

Tyler Oliver Tyler Oliver, a computer forensics major from Lebanon, is one of the first interns selected by the Defense Cyber Crime Institute (DCCI), part of the U.S. Department of Defense based in Linthicum, Md., near Washington, D.C. He is researching random-access memory (RAM) artifacts, specifically looking at a computer’s memory after someone uses a file-sharing program known as Limewire. The goal, Oliver said, “is to give investigators some guidelines to follow when they come across this software in the field so they can build a stronger case.”

BU’s computer forensics bachelor’s degree program – the only one in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and one of just a few in universities nationwide – teaches students how to extract and analyze information from computers, cell phones and similar devices involved in criminal activity. Graduates find jobs with law enforcement, homeland security agencies, law firms and private companies.

Scott Inch, professor of mathematics, computer science and statistics, said BU is one of just four universities in the country invited to participate in the DCCI’s first internship program this summer; the others are Purdue University, the University of New Orleans and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The opportunity arose after Inch gave a talk about his cell phone research at last year’s Mobile Forensics World conference in Chicago.

During his internship this summer, Oliver works for a mentor at DCCI and Inch serves as his unofficial mentor at BU. “Originally, I wasn’t entirely sure about working on an internship remotely, but it has worked out quite well,” Oliver said. “I simply contact my mentor whenever I run into issues, and I get to manage my time. I just need to make sure that I have completed my research by the deadline at the end of the summer.”

Oliver, a Canadian citizen who has lived in Lebanon since he was 5 years old, started his college studies in the University of British Columbia’s computer science program. Discovering his real interest was in computer forensics, he transferred to the British Columbia Institute of Technology before discovering BU’s program. He previously worked on a project with BU’s Computer Forensics Club to identify information left behind by Internet browsers. After he graduates, he may pursue a corporate career or a graduate degree in digital forensics.

The Defense Cyber Crime Institute provides legally and scientifically accepted standards, techniques, research, tools and technologies on computer forensics and related technologies to meet the needs of the Department of Defense and law enforcement.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 9,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.