WKU students learn first hand computer forensics

A tool, police use in situations like the Virginia Tech shooting, is computer forensics. A class at Western is seeing firsthand how the technology is used.

Western student, John Gregory is thinking about pursuing a career in law enforcement after college. In one of his classes he's been learning about computer forensics.

Now, he's tuned in to the news to see how police in Virginia are using the same technology to uncover clues about the Virginia Tech shooter's motive.

"Every minute I can get I try to get an update on it," Gregory said

Jim Lindsey, a professor at Western said computer forensics is a relatively new field, that's more and more in demand. There's now software that allows police to look at files on a suspect's computer.

"They can look at the information that was deleted or they can look at information that has been hidden, or encrypted or placed into a file where it would be hard to find," Lindsey said.

Western students are getting a first-hand look at how forensic technology is used in their class, and they also have the opportunity to see how it's used in real cases.

"We'll be able to watch what those investigators are doing and see a real life application of what we're learning in the classroom," said Elliott Cutright, a Western student.

"Hopefully it will wet their appetites enough that they'll pursue it further and further," Lindsey said.

That's exactly what it's done for Gregory. After learning more about computer forensics, he's thinking how he can help victims of violence by using this technology.

"I feel very sorry for those individuals. If I can contribute in the future to prevent it, then I would," Gregory said.

Lindsey also said he hasn't discussed the shootings at Virginia Tech in his class, but as more developments emerge he'll start to relate the investigation to what the students are learning.

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