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Class Selection Help

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Joined: Oct 30, 2011
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:08 am    Post subject: Class Selection Help Reply with quote

I'm 14 credits away from graduating with an IT degree. With those credits I can choose to go for the Security concentration or the Networking concentration. After I graduate I want to get a MS in Computer Forensics. I have already taken Network Security, Operating System Fundamentals, and Computer Crime, Forensics, and Auditing.

I need to either take 2 classes from Security, or 2 classes from Networking (although I can take another from either concentration as an elective if it would be very beneficial).

Which classes for which concentration do you think would be the most applicable to a Computer Forensics MS? I would have thought it would be the security classes but I've also been told the networking classes would be better.

Security Concentration

Network Defense
Practices and procedures for defending business-class, heterogeneous networks against threats (including system failure, environmental events, human error) and attacks (including intrusion, malicious software, denial of service). Through practical lab sessions, students receive real-world experience designing networks, installing and configuring system components, detecting and recovering from problems and attacks, and gathering data to support prosecution of offenders and refinement of countermeasures.

Information Security Principles
Studies security policies, models, and mechanisms for secrecy, integrity, availability, and usage controls. Topics include models and mechanisms for mandatory, discretionary, and role-based access controls; authentication technologies; control and prevention of viruses and other rogue programs; common system vulnerabilities and countermeasures; privacy and security policies and risk analysis; intellectual property protection; and legal and social issues.

Information Defense Technologies
This course will examine and assess the role of information technology as a tool of warfare and civil defense. Topics will be discussed from both defensive and offensive perspectives and will include asset tracking, asymmetric warfare, network centric warfare, physical attacks, cyberterrorism, espionage, psyops, reconnaissance and surveillance, space assets, and applications of GPS and cryptographic technology. Students will research and write about the social, ethical, and political effects of such technology.


Applications of Digital Technologies
The course covers an overview of technologies and applications of a wide array of digital components used within state of the art IT systems. Topics include an understanding of the applications of such digital devices embedded within telecommunications systems, storage systems, computing systems, multimedia systems, and computer networks.

Information Storage and Management Technologies
Provides an introduction to principles of information storage and management technologies. Covers Direct Attached Storage (DAS), networked storage models such as Network Attached Storage (NAS), Storage Area Network (SAN), and Content Addressed Storage (CAS); and applications in business continuity, replication, and disaster recovery. Includes exposure to real-world storage networking technologies.

Network Servers and Infrastructures
Covers IP networking concepts and practices for using DHCP, DNS, secure communication, routing, remote address services, web servers, and network connectivity between operating systems. Students learn TCP/IP, routing architecture, and understand application-level services used in Internet. Through networking lab sessions, students focus on using switches and routers connected in LANs and WANs.

Thanks for any recommendations!
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Joined: Jan 01, 2007
Posts: 1130
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How are your skills in networking? Could you walk to a testing center with no prep work and pass Net+ and Security+? If not I think the networking track will improve your base set of skills. And that would prepare you for an entry level job in network support which will hopefully vault you into the security arena and the world of IR or CF depending on where your interests lie.

That said if I had to pick two it would be in the security track because those classes sound more interesting.

Does the MS program have more of a network security/IR track or more CF? I ask because if the security classes will get covered in the MS program it might be redundant to take those classes as an undergrad and then take very similar classes as a grad student.

Tough decision that depends on a lot of other variables.
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Joined: Oct 19, 2007
Posts: 241

PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Class Selection Help Reply with quote

theoddpassenger wrote:
IWhich classes for which concentration do you think would be the most applicable to a Computer Forensics MS? I would have thought it would be the security classes but I've also been told the networking classes would be better.

'better' is not a well defined criterium.

Personally, I would recommend something that gives you a degree of competence in the areas that you will be examining in a forensic setting.
A slight exaggeration: if you are going to examine Windows XP, you need something like 3 years of solid sysadm and helpdesk experience for that particular platform, as a client system as well as a component of a domain. The Network classes you list seem more appropriate for that kind of approach, but you may have covered that in earlier classes.

As a forensic pathologist, you would need a solid understanding of the human body. As a forensic computer expert, you need a similar foundation for understanding IT systems.

Security classes ... well, ask the instructor to define security. If he/she does it in 30 seconds without any hemming and hawing and 'it depends', and the definition is trustworthy and is right for where you want to go, I'd say go for it. Unfortunately, security is rather like selling elastic tape by the yard/meter -- it's easy to sell the wrong length, often even without being aware of doing so.

(Added: But I should probably add that I consider 'computer forensics' largely a question of training, that has to be added to a solid foundation of education. If the education isn't there, the training will need to cover up for it ... and that's not a good thing.)
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Joined: Oct 30, 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the input. Decided I'm going to forgo an elective and maybe pick up an extra class to take 4 concentration courses. I think I'm going to be taking Network Defense, Applications of Digital Technologies, and one or two more networking courses, which I'm going to pick after I speak to a professor from my school's Computer Forensics MS program.
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