HTCIA joins the CDFS to help set digital forensics standards

December 22, 2011

Consortium of Digital Forensics SpecialistsWe are very pleased to announce that we’ve joined the Consortium of Digital Forensics Specialists (CDFS) as an Organizational Member! Established in 2008 to provide leadership and advocacy as the global representative of the digital forensics profession, CDFS offers the chance for HTCIA members, through their board representatives, to collectively help determine standards for digital forensics ethics, practice and professional licensing and certification, among other areas.

Our International President, Duncan Monkhouse, has this to say: “For 25 years, our members have contributed to the development of digital investigation as a science and a profession. Supporting the CDFS is a natural outgrowth of their contributions. We look forward to helping shape the education and training of this particular facet of high tech crime investigation, which is just one of the many our membership serves.”

Chris Kelly, CDFS’ president and a New England HTCIA chapter member, is likewise excited. “HTCIA’s membership is a welcome addition because of its members’ breadth of experience not just in digital forensics, but also in private investigation, prosecution, and other professions that affect the way digital forensics is perceived within the investigative community,” he says. “We look forward to their input and assistance in driving not just our association, but the entire profession forward.”

HTCIA joins two other nonprofit professional organizations, the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists (IACIS) and the Association of Digital Forensics, Security and Law (ADFSL) as members of CDFS. We couldn’t be in better company, and we’re so grateful to CDFS for making our membership possible!


HTCIA chapter leader training invites volunteers to grow with us

July 22, 2011

Flock together with other HTCIA chapter leader volunteers!

One of the sessions offered at the 2011 HTCIA International Training Conference & Exposition will be Monday afternoon’s Chapter Officer Training, a session that will help chapter leaders – or anyone interested in volunteering to be an officer – develop better methods for recruiting new members, offering quality training, and running the chapter overall.

Last year’s session was quite successful, with chapter leaders able to ask and answer many questions. The open forum allowed them to help one another out, to brainstorm new solutions and ideas based on leaders’ experiences. We talked with International President Duncan Monkhouse about this coming year’s training:

HTCIA: Why have a training session for chapter officers?

DM: The purposes of this training session are many:

  • It is an opportunity for the IEC [International Executive Committee] to interact with the chapter officers to provide information about running a chapter, and the functions of chapter officers.
  • It provides a forum for the chapter officers to interact with the IEC, providing suggestions about the running of chapters and the association.
  • It provides a location where the chapter officers can exchange information between themselves about how to make a chapter successful.
  • It will assist members who are interested in becoming chapter officers a way of finding out how the association works and the work involved in being a chapter officer or IEC officer.

HTCIA: Don’t current and previous officers provide institutional knowledge?

DM: The major way that institutional knowledge is passed down is from current to future chapter officers. However, there can be gaps in the knowledge that is passed and this training session is a way to insure that these gaps are filled.

It is also a way for the IEC to reach out to the chapter officers to give and receive suggestions about the functions of the officers, the chapters and the IEC.

HTCIA: You’re covering how to hold meetings, what the officers’ functions are and also allowing officers to network. Why these three things in particular — what have you found that officers misunderstand or need to know better?

DM: These things are important to a successful HTCIA. The frequency and content of the meetings are the key to having a successful chapter. No regular meeting means a chapter is in trouble. Good content on a regular basis attracts new members and builds the chapter and the association. More members in a chapter means more candidates for the chapter officer positions and more possibilities for a wider range of speakers.

By assisting the officer in understanding their positions, the whole association benefits with smoother running administration and better service to the membership. The ability for chapter officers to network allows the chapters that have been successful to make suggestions to the other chapters on how they can achieve the same success.

HTCIA: Will it be sort of a “roundtable” like last year, or more directed this year?

DM: The plan for this year is to emulate last year. The format appeared to work well, allowing the officers to interact, but with some formal part at the start to initiate discussion.

Monkhouse acknowledges that it’s important to have the flexibility and support of both family and employer, for what can sometimes be a time-consuming role. However, he adds that his volunteerism at both chapter and international levels leadership has given him even more quality networking and job opportunities than just membership alone. “This is an opportunity to see what the association can give to you and how you can give back to your community of cybercrime professionals through HTCIA,” he says.

The chapter officer training will be informed by, and will also feed back into, the the association’s 5-year strategic plan that’s under development this weekend. Knowing where the past 25 years have taken us, and where we’ll be going in response to the high tech crime investigation community as a whole, will help us better serve our chapter leaders – at the conference, and beyond.

Chapter President, Vice President, Secretary, or Treasurer – or have interest in running for any of these positions? Please join us on Monday, September 12 at 3:30pm in the Emerald 8 room. Be sure to register for the conference!

Image: lifeinfrozenframes via Flickr

Meet the incoming IEC: Duncan Monkhouse, President

January 5, 2011

Duncan Monkhouse HTCIA International PresidentHappy New Year to all our subscribers and readers! We are pleased to introduce our International President for 2011: Duncan Monkhouse, an HTCIA member for 10 years and, as a Canadian, our first truly international president. With over 30 years of microcomputing experience, Duncan has served as IT support and development for a local police force, as a programmer and computer forensics specialist for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and most recently as an electronic evidence officer for the Canadian government.

We asked Duncan what he anticipates for the HTCIA this coming year:

This year HTCIA celebrates 25 years as an Association. What are the thoughts of the incoming HTCIA President?

In my mind, the fact that HTCIA is 25 years old is a tremendous achievement. From our roots in Silicon Valley, California, we have grown to represent high tech investigators from around the world. This gives the membership a real opportunity to learn about different investigation techniques and different procedures from other members.

The size of the association, almost 4,000 members, means that a member has trusted contacts wherever their investigations take them. This will become more and more important as more investigations span the globe in size. The association gives the members a trusted base of experts to assist with almost any issue that crops up during their investigation.

How has membership helped your career and day-to-day work?

Membership in HTCIA has allowed me to expand my horizons to other areas of high tech investigations, and to see new trends in the field. This is useful at work as we determine what equipment and software would assist us in our investigations. The listserv is an excellent resource; just reading the messages gives you a feel for the direction of the industry, and useful tidbits that can be used in your investigations.

What are you looking forward to accomplishing in 2011?

There are a number of things that I would like to accomplish in the upcoming year. One is improved communications between the entities involved in HTCIA, the International Office, the Chapters, the members and the general public.

Another is to attempt to set a direction for the association for the upcoming years. As an association, and a member of the International Executive Committee, it is very difficult to perceive the plan for HTCIA to achieve its mandate. This is complicated by the constant change in members sitting on the International Board of Directors.

The last item is to increase the training opportunities for the members, through online training, and the International Conference.

What do you most want to see from the members/chapters?

As a rule the association provides services (meetings, training) to our members. So, it’s interesting to ask, what can the members do for us? But there are a number of things that members can do to assist the association.

Any association is only as good as its members, so invite people who might be interested in the goals of the association to a meeting. Help by volunteering for your local chapters, do a presentation (a learning experience for both you as a member and the attendees), reach out to the general public with training to assist them in understanding why what we do is important.

At the chapter level, the chapter boards need to provide regular meeting to their members, with a good program of presenters.

What are your goals as the first non-US President of HTCIA?

As the President of HTCIA, my goals are simple, to steer the ship and not run aground. This is easy, or hard, depending on the crew (International Executive Committee, and International Board of Directors). Being the first non-US President does not change these goals.

Where I can bring insight into the functioning of the International Office has to do with the interface between the International Office and the non-US chapters. The non-US chapters are already recognized in the bylaws, by being able to have a separate bank account, and depending on national laws, have defence representatives as members.

That said, there are still obstacles faced by the non-US chapters that could be removed by changing way the chapters are viewed by the association. One of the goals for the Bylaw Committee will be to look at this interface and determine if there is a better model.

Questions or comments for Duncan on our plans? Please ask in comments below, or email!

Thank you conference attendees, volunteers & sponsors for a wonderful 2010 conference!

September 30, 2010

Our 2010 International Training Conference & Expo has come and gone, and feedback we’re getting is that it was among our better events. The three full days of training, lectures and hands-on labs brought together old friends, new contacts, and the vendors who support them in their investigative work. Spouses got to tour beautiful historical sites, and everyone got the chance to celebrate members’ achievements at our annual banquet.

Finding tools that fit their budget, learning about tools and techniques from other investigators, and bolstering their own expertise are among the reasons why investigators from law enforcement, corporate security, information technology, private consultancies, and academia come to our conference every year. Last week, the six lecture tracks (networking, the cloud, digital forensics, legal topics, social networking, and cell phones) running concurrently with six vendor lab tracks over three full days offered a balanced conference, which at least one first-time attendee perceived as more vendor-neutral than others.

Others appreciated the range of topics. Chris Curran, a civilian computer forensic examiner with a California police department, attended lectures and labs that supported both the operational and legal aspects of his job. “Donn Hoffman’s class, ‘The Forensic Examiner’s Self-Defense: Managing Difficult Prosecutors & Conquering Cross Examination,’ laid out some great strategies for communicating with the prosecutor handling a case,” Curran explains. “He also took time to explain key issues that are not under the prosecutor’s control and how they make for last minute requests to forensic examiners.”

Curran also attended “SHIFT: A Workshop for Professionals Exposed to Child Sex Abuse Images at Work.” “The workshop provided great insight into identifying causes of stress both at home and on the job, finding ways to deal with the stress, and learning to build a team to support those in this line of work,” he says. “The tag team approach of Lt. Kris Carlson and Kathy Majerus was well organized and very smooth. I thought it to be one of the best sessions I have attended at any conference.”

Other highlights included our keynote speakers — Steve Cooley, Patrick Gray, Shawn Baker and Marc Goodman — Tuesday’s Computer Forensics Jeopardy, a forensic tower giveaway from the nonprofit Innocent Justice Foundation and our sponsor Forensic Computers Inc., and some after-hours beer-and-food vendor labs.

Todd Shipley, 2010 international president, says that among the lectures, labs and four keynote speakers, “Our annual conference this year in Atlanta was a great training experience for our members and non-member attendees. The level of training our conference has provided is unequaled. We brought in trainers from all over the country and had attendees from all over the world – Taiwan, Norway, the Netherlands, even Pakistan.

“What is exciting for us as an organization is that next year is our 25th anniversary as an organization. In addition to this milestone we will also have our first truly International President, Duncan Monkhouse from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.”

The social side

The HTCIA conference isn’t all work and no play. Many attendees’ spouses joined them in Atlanta, and after hours – following tours of nearby plantations, or local museums – joined the attendees for social events, including the Northeast Chapter‘s traditional afterparty on Monday night and the annual awards banquet. Following the ceremonies and dinner, engineer-turned-comedian Don McMillan of took the stage for the evening’s entertainment.

“From my perspective the conference was a real success,” says Duncan Monkhouse, the conference chair. Although attendance was lower due to the economy, he notes, “I believe that nearly everyone left with a feeling that they had had a wonderful time and learned a thing or two. The conference met most of my goals, easy registration, great program, mostly great food, great hotel, great exhibit hall, wonderful volunteers and great networking opportunities.”

We’re looking forward to providing the same high-quality training and networking in San Antonio, Texas this coming year. Located along the city’s Riverwalk, and running from Sept. 19-21, the 2011 HTCIA International Conference & Expo promises something for everyone. Stay up to date on conference developments via this blog, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. We look forward to seeing you next year!