US University to Host INTERPOL Digital Forensics Conference

The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) 2020 Digital Forensics Expert Group conference is to be virtually hosted by the University of New Haven in partnership with MITRE Corporation.

The event aims to bring together leaders in digital forensics to learn about new developments in the field while also providing an opportunity for some professional networking.

INTERPOL approached Elder Family Chair and director of the university’s Connecticut Institute of Technology Dr. Ibrahim Baggili and nonprofit MITRE with a hosting request last year. Baggili had planned to host the event with Cory Hall, principal cybersecurity engineer at MITRE, as his co-chair. 

However, plans to physically site the event at the university were left in tatters by the global outbreak of COVID-19. Had the conference been able to take place on site at the university as originally intended, it would have been the first time in history that the event was held in the United States. 

Eager to ensure the event went ahead despite the challenges of lockdown measures and travel restrictions designed to slow the spread of COVID-19, the university and MITRE are now hosting the conference in cyberspace.

Baggili said that in light of the increased reliance placed on technology by society in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, cybersecurity was more important now than ever before. 

“Cyber criminals will always take advantage of people, and how we investigate these crimes is of the utmost importance,” said Baggili. “From what we have learned from COVID-19, our livelihood, at this point, depends on technology.”

Hall commented that although a physical venue might be missing from the INTERPOL event, the need for digital forensics experts to be up to speed on the latest developments in their field was not.

“Digital forensics experts worldwide still require updates on new tradecraft and a place to connect and learn from one another,” said Hall. “This is a great example of collaboration across academia, nonprofits, and international law enforcement. It shows that our human spirit will prevail against this pandemic.”

The virtual conference will take place on four days over two weeks in June. For the first time, participants will be given the chance to solve a digital forensics challenge.