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Digital Forensics: NIST Seeks Input on Scientific Foundation Review of Digital Investigation Techniques


As part of its efforts to document and evaluate the scientific basis for forensic methods, the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking comments on Digital Investigation Techniques: A NIST Scientific Foundation Review. This draft report reviews the methods that digital forensic experts use to analyze evidence from computers, mobile phones, and other electronic devices. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) encourages stakeholders to submit comments to NIST by its July 11 deadline.

NIST’s scientific foundation reviews address a need identified in a 2009 study by the National Academy of Sciences, which found that some forensic disciplines lack a solid foundation in scientific research. In 2018 Congress directed NIST to conduct these reviews and appropriated funding for them.

In reviewing digital investigation techniques, the report’s authors found that “digital evidence examination rests on a firm foundation based in computer science,” and that “the application of these computer science techniques to digital investigations is sound.”

The report also highlights challenges digital forensic experts face, particularly regarding the rapid pace of technological change, and offers recommendations that include:

  • better methods for information-sharing among experts
  • a more structured approach to testing forensic tools to increase efficiency and reduce duplication of effort across labs
  • increased sharing of high-quality forensic reference data for use in education, training, and development and testing of new forensic tools

NIST will host a webinar about the draft report on June 1, 2022. Instructions for commenting and webinar registration are available on the NIST website.

Last Chance to Register: ANSI Legal Issues Forum on Forensic Standardization, May 19
Forensic standards, conformity assessment, and their interplay with the law will be the focus of discussions at ANSI’s Legal Issues Forum this Thursday, May 19. See the agenda for the full line-up of expert-led panels and register now for in-person or virtual attendance on the ANSI website


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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