Fall 2023 - CMPT 479 E100

Special Topics in Computing Systems (3)

Digital Forensics

Class Number: 8062

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Oct 6, 2023: Tue, 4:30–6:20 p.m.

    Oct 11 – Dec 5, 2023: Tue, 4:30–6:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 18, 2023
    Mon, 7:00–10:00 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    CMPT 300 with a minimum grade of C-.



Current topics in computing systems depending on faculty and student interest.


This course provides an introduction to the fundamentals of Digital Forensics and introduces the basic concepts and elements of Forensic Investigation. Topics include digital evidence collection and acquisition, forensics data analysis and reporting. In addition, the course will introduce the basic concepts and terms of Digital Forensics, address the legal aspects and challenges of this field, introduce the newest tools and methods applied in a forensic investigation, and touch on future digital forensic techniques.

Introduction to digital forensics will introduce students to basic terms and concepts while investigating digital evidence. The course will cover various topics, starting with an in-depth introduction to the field, accompanied by real-life cases and examples.

The course will take the students through the steps required to conduct a proper forensic investigation – Data collection, Data Analysis and Reporting. Each step will be accompanied by hands-on examples using real-life tools, and the students will practise their first steps in the field.

The course will also discuss the different challenges related to proper data preservation and acquisition. It will take the students through the necessary steps required to perform a digital forensic investigation of a mobile device, an Apple computer, a Windows device, and various other data-carrying devices.

Students will be provided with various hands-on assignments and opportunities to practice their newly acquired skills while working with digital forensic tools such as Magnet Axiom, FTK imager and more, while adhering to the rules of proper forensic acquisition.



* Introduction to digital forensics

* Data storage devices – Hard/Solid State drives

* File systems and methods of data storage

* Introduction to mobile forensics

* Key legal concepts and cases related to digital forensics

* The structure of the digital forensics lab

* Digital forensics tools – Magnet Axiom, FTK Imager

* Internet, email and cloud forensics

* Data collection and storage, the chain of custody

* Live vs Dead box forensics, data analysis

* Key windows and macOS artifacts

* Data recovery

* Creating forensics reports




* Quizzes/ Assignments 30%

* Midterm 35%

* Final 35%



Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.