Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Cyber security and digital forensics

Dr. Anthony Keane, Head of Department of Informatics, Institute of Technology Blanchardstown, Dublin.

Today the focus of cyber attacks has broadened to incorporate all devices that handle digital information and the people that use them.  The list of criminal activity has also expanded to mirror the typical traditional crimes perpetrated on individuals, such as identification theft, stolen credit card information, robbery, fraud, spying, espionage, unauthorised access and usage and so on. 

Such crimes are made possible by the poor security inherent in the Internet and on the networked devices attached to the Internet.  Cyber crimes throughout the World, including India, are increasing at a fast pace causing monetary and personal losses to individual, corporations and governmental institutions. There is an increased measure to effectively tackle cyber crimes starting with awareness, training and legalisation.

As in all crime, police use data gathering and forensics methods to build their case using a specialist field in computer science called Digital Forensics.  This involves analysing computers and digital storage devices like smartphones, external USB storage devices, cameras, etc to extract data to build a timeline of activity of the user and to investigate the files on the device.  Specialist programs are used to help the investigator like AccessData Forensics Tool Kit (FTK) and Guidence Software’s EnCASE Forensics Tools, to extract the data in a forensics accepted manner.

In colleges and Universities throughout the World, degree and postgraduate courses have begun teaching Cyber Security and Digital Forensics to students with great success.   The students are very interested in seeing what can be recovered from digital devices and as a result of this interest, the students get to learn how operating systems work, how application systems operate and about the network systems the computers are attached.  Skills of the forensics investigator cover file systems operation and management, encryption, password cracking, data analysis, malware operation, rootkits, usage of tools like FTK or EnCASE and report writing skills.

New areas in digital forensics are Cloud Forensics and eDiscovery.  As data moves from local storage on local devices into Cloud Services, the traditional forensics methods don’t apply and new approaches are being developed to handle the new media and business modelling.  The eDiscovery approach is required in many law court cases to locate potential evidence in case trials based on agreed search criteria so lawyers and police need to be educated on the methods and tools for eDiscovery as they would about any other part of their profession.

The Institute of Technology Blanchardstown, Dublin, Ireland, ( is at the forefront in the development and application of cutting-edge courses at degree and postgraduate degree in Cyber Security & Digital Forensics covering areas such as Digital Forensics, Cyber Crime Investigations, Secure Communications, Network Security, Biometrics, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery.  These courses include current industry certifications (such as CCNA Security and AccessData Certified Examiner (ACE)) as well as internationally recognised degree certification.

Parallel to the taught programmes at ITB are research projects in the Cyber Security and Digital Forensics areas at masters and PhD levels that are run in partnership with companies and focus on real-world problems.   Research students build and run the Cyber Challenge Capture-the-Flag competitions for different companies and for OWASP, IRISS and IBM.  

Dr. Anthony Keane, Head of Department of Informatics, Institute of Technology Blanchardstown
Anthony heads the Informatics Department here in ITB and is also the principle investigator in the Network Security & Computer Forensics group where he has several master and doctoral research students investigating information security aspects of modern network infrastructure, devices and services from Smartphones to Cloud Computing. Anthony Keane has a BSc (Physics) from University College Galway , an MSc (Astrophysics) from University College London and PhD from University College Dublin. Prior to joining ITB, Anthony worked in the Cosmic Physics Section of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, as a doctorate research student and later as a post doctorate researcher.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Could you be a web tutorial developer?

This summer, with the help of the AIB Innovation Fund, ITB Library is working on a project to adapt a series of online tutorials.  We are looking for an ITB student, with web design experience, to work as a research student.

The tutorials will be located on the Library's Moodle page:

What is the project about?
We intend to adapt a set of tutorials created by the University of Manchester Library (e.g.  They include topics such as academic writing skills, presentation skills etc.  We aim to adapt them so that they are directly relevant to ITB undergraduates.

What does the research student need?
  • to be able to edit online content, e.g. sample questions may be altered to reflect subjects taught at ITB; database login information and instructions may be replaced with local information; contact details may be changed etc.
  • to have a good eye for aesthetic presentation, i.e. a style guide will be developed for the colour-palette, graphics, logos etc. used across the tutorials.  Photos, screencasts, videos etc. will be created to replace imported information with local information.
  • to have the technical knowledge to test the functionality of the tutorials across browsers, platforms etc.

What does the research student not need?
  • knowledge about the content of the tutorials.  Library staff will provide any guidance necessary.

Hours of work:
35 hours per week. Normal working hours will be 9 to 5 Monday to Friday for a period of 3 months.

The salary will be a maximum of €2,000 over a period of three months.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Presentations: getting ready to speak in public

Do you have to give a presentation as part of an assignment? How do you feel about speaking in front of a group of people? Public speaking can be daunting for a lot of people, but here are a few hints that may help you feel better prepared and less nervous.

Know your topic: it is important to be familiar with the topic of your presentation so that you can feel confident to speak about it and answer questions. Reading your slides, or reading from notes, is not very engaging for the audience. Use your slides to state your core points but tell your audience about any supporting information or examples. They could read your slides at home; if people have turned up at your presentation it is because they want to hear what you have to say!

Rehearse: as well as knowing your topic, it is very helpful to know how you sound before you stand in front of an audience. Even if it feels odd, practice your speech aloud. Consider how you appear to an audience: are you shy and mumbling or are you confident and clear? Time yourself to ensure that you can fit the whole presentation into the time allowed. Rushing the end of your presentation, or running over-time, makes a poor impression.

Know the environment: always turn up early to ensure that the room is organised in the way you want it to be. Ensure your laptop/USB/projector works in that room; if you need sound, ensure that there are speakers. Solve any technical difficulties before your audience arrive.

Every Presentation Ever: Communication FAIL! from Growing Leaders on Vimeo.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Need to book a PC?

Do you have an hour or two between lectures?  Why not book a library PC instead of queuing for one?
You can book from any PC, including the dedicated booking PC near the library desk.

(1) Go to the library catalogue and click on Book A PC - From Your PC

(2) Sign in using your name and network password

(3) This is the booking screen.  Current PC bookings show up in blue.  Future bookings show up in red.  To book a PC, double-click in an available time slot.

(4) Select the time for which you want to book the PC.

(5) Your booking will show up in yellow.

 If you have any questions, contact us at the library desk or email

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Need information from Irish newspapers?

Are you writing assignments at the moment?  Do you need topical or historical information from Irish newspapers?  Do you need facts and figures or opinions and reflections?  Now you can access all that and more...

ActivePaper Archive logo image

The library currently has a trial with the Irish Newspaper Archive database.  This contains over thirty full-text Irish national and regional newspapers, some of which date back to the 18th century. Included is the Belfast Newsletter, Irish and Sunday Independent, Meath Chronicle, Longford Leader, Ulster Herald, Westmeath Examiner, among others.

Please note: the trial is only available on-campus.

The Irish Times Digital Archive is also currently allowing access to materials from 1996-present (click on Search on the top-left of the page).

Don't forget to gather the information you need to reference any articles as you read them.