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NIST Opens Applications for Digital Forensics Exercise

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The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is looking for public and private sector experts to take part in an exercise focused on evaluating the digital forensics community’s capacity to conduct mobile- and computer-based investigations.

NIST said Tuesday the three-month online exercise will deploy a “black box” concept to assess the performance of digital capabilities in processing simulated evidence for real-life cases including homicide and intellectual property theft.

Participants will undergo a two-hour exam and download the digital evidence from NIST’s website. Forensic resources must be processed through one virtual computer and one mobile phone, the agency noted.

According to NIST, participants will be allowed to use “whatever forensic software tools they choose” to answer questions during the test which is aimed at evaluating the reliability of experts' methods for producing results.

“We want to understand the state of the practice,” said Barbara Guttman, head of the digital forensics research program at NIST. “Can experts produce accurate and reliable information when examining data from a digital device?” 

NIST intends to publish anonymized results of the exercise as part of the study.