Digital Forensics - PS511

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Autumn and Spring 5 15 (7.5) DR S Gibson checkmark-circle


Facial Identification
Facial reconstruction, facial composites, description by witness – cognitive interview - Turnbull’s rules (R v Turnbull, 1976), identity parades – psychology of facial identification – video identity parades, facial mapping, automated recognition technologies, age progression.

Digital Image Analysis
Image formation, image storage, image distortion, image restoration methods, the digital image in crime detection, steganography (implementation and detection).

Digital Forensics
Encryption, fallacies about hiding and destroying data, where to find data and methods for retrieving it, disk imaging, file integrity, cryptographic hashing, privacy vs need for investigation.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

20 lectures and 10 x 2hr laboratory classes.


This is not available as a wild module.

Method of assessment

Examination - 60%; coursework - 40%

Indicative reading

Optional Reading:

  • Digital Image Processing using MATLAB, Gonzalez Woods & Eddins, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004.

  • Fundamentals of digital image processing: a practical approach with examples in
  • Matlab - Solomon, Chris, Breckon, Toby 2011.

  • Forensic Computer: A Practitioner's Guide, T Sammes & J Jenkinson, Springer, 2007.

  • Handbook of Computer Crime Investigation, E Casey, Academic Press, 2002.

  • Craniofacial Identification, C Wilkinson & C Ryan, Cambridge, 2012.

  • Investigation Digital Crime, R Bryant, John WIley & Sons, 2008.

    See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

    Learning outcomes

    Knowledge and understanding of:

  • Association of Chief Police Officer’s guidelines for ‘National Working Practices in Facial Imaging’
  • The main facial identification techniques used in criminal investigations
  • Practical experience of using facial composite software
  • Methods used in digital image forensics and their implementation in the computer software
  • Aspects of digital forensics including: legislation to enforce appropriate computer use; cryptography for secret communication; network forensics and methods used to hide data on computer hardware and methods for retrieving it.
  • To use forensic software in relation to mock criminal investigations
  • To enhance skills in a laboratory environment
  • Ability to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the essential facts, and concepts, relating to the subject area


    1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
    2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
    3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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