Report on the site visit to UCD (University College Dublin) Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Investigation Centre (hereinafter – UCD CCI)


The visit took place on 23-26 March of 2015.

Representatives of Lithuanian Law Enforcement Agencies (LT LEA) – Lithuanian Cybercrime Center of Excellence for Training, Research and Education and Vilnius County Police Headquarters – visited UCD CCI and Crime investigation unit of Irish Police.

Mrs. Cheryl Baker, a Head of Cybersecurity & Cybercrime Unit, presented information about UCD and UCD CCI.

University College Dublin is one of Europe's leading research-intensive universities. At UCD undergraduate educationmaster's and PhD trainingresearch, innovation and community engagement form a dynamic spectrum of activity.

Today UCD is Ireland's largest and most diverse university with over 30,000 students, drawn from approximately 124 countries. It actively promotes university life as a journey of intellectual and personal discovery through its highly innovative and flexible UCD Horizons undergraduate curriculum and is the most popular destination for Irish school-leavers.

UCD is home to over 6,000 international students and delivers degrees to over 5,000 students on overseas campuses. In addition, the University places great emphasis on the internationalisation of the Irish student experience – preparing all UCD students for future employment and life that crosses borders, boundaries and cultures.

Today about 6.000 students are studying online and come to the University for the Exams only.

UCD has 7 colleges in various disciplines: College of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, College of Arts & Celtic Studies, College of Business & Law, College of Engineering & Architecture, College of Health Sciences, College of Human Sciences, College of Science.

UCD is located on a beautiful leafy 133-hectare campus close to Dublin's city centre, which provides a mix of academic facilities, research institutes, libraries and archival collections, enterprise space, student villages, and sports and recreational facilities. UCD academic facilities are under renovation now. A new UCD CCI building was built and facilities for a trial simulation at UCD Law School. This enables to acquire more practical skills and knowledge useful in the Court.

UCD is home to a unique international master’s degree in forensic computing. This bespoke programme for law enforcement agencies could be the stuff of television. Prompted by Detective Inspector Paul Gillen, Head of the Garda Computer Crime Investigation Unit, the programme has been developed in conjunction with law enforcement experts from around the globe. One such contributor to the programme is Sergeant Michael Moran from INTERPOL. Moran is an expert on Child Exploitation on the Internet and has developed a module on this topic. He is one of a network of police officers at INTERPOL drawn from 58 countries, using their forensic computing skills to fight crimes that cross international borders. Experts from the Carabinieri, Guardia Civil and An Garda Síochána have also assisted in the development of material and lecture on their specialist areas.

The UCD Centre for Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Investigations programmes are recognised internationally as being among the leading qualifications for law enforcement within this field. Developed by Dr Pavel Gladyshev, the purpose of the FCCI programme is to produce graduates with skills enabling them to effectively carry out investigations across a broad spectrum of cybercrimes. All of these programmes are designed to be accessible to members of law enforcement on an international basis. Therefore lectures are delivered online, with workshops and exams taking place annually in Dublin. The programme is an example of Ireland's thriving ICT base and is held up as an example by the IDA.

To date, police officers from over forty-seven countries have graduated from the programme. Armed with their forensic skills (pdf), these officers continue the battle against trafficking, fraud, child abuse and terrorism throughout the world.

UCD has a thriving graduate community of some 7,007 students who work and learn on two world-class campuses, and in numerous associated research and teaching institutions. Through seven Colleges, UCD offers Ireland's most diverse range of graduate opportunities. The taught programmes are modularised to facilitate access, continuing professional development and life-long learning. Programmes are led by academic experts and offer to students unparalleled choice at all levels. By learning from globally recognised experts, students can enhance their prospects by becoming more expert themselves.

Building on the success of global learning through the CCI, UCD has recently begun to offer the world class education and qualifications through a selection of online courses. Flexible online delivery means that students can learn on-demand and in their own time with all the reassurance of UCD expertise and support.

UCD CCI is non-profit organisation and all funding is used for salary and acquisition of new equipment for R&D and projects. UCD CCI is on the final stage of 2-years FREETOOL project.  During this project a set of digital forensics tools was developed. These tools differ from the commercial tools as they are targeted on Irish Police needs and are non-profit oriented.

They source of UCD CCI funding is the projects funded by European Commission programmes. Some income comes from training of Police officers. The most popular training programme for investigators is “First responders” and it is expected to train over 160 investigators until the end of 2015.

Representative of UCD CCI Ruper Bowen has presented UCD master studies for Police investigators. The price of 2-years master programme is 8320 euro. Students may study under three master programmes:  „Computer forensics”, “Network investigations” ir „Introducing to Programming for Cybercrime Investigators”. Each module is assessed 10 credits remaining missing credits a student can gather from the other 14 optional subjects. Currently, 120 police officers received UCD CCI master's diploma. All UCD CCI training program is designed for distance learning. Some students come to the University for knowledge evaluation – for final exams only.  

The delegation of LT LEA visited the Telecomms Unit of Irish Police, located at Pheonix Park and responsible for mobile phones and video recording device forensics.

The visit began with a visit to mobile device forensics laboratory. The mobile devices enter this laboratory from police stations where investigators not have the technical forensics possibilities. Three people are responsible for mobile devices forensics and investigation, one person is working with digital video recording (DVR) devices. The commercial products are used for mobile devices forensics. In special cases, the Irish police investigators to seek assistance from the Belgian special forensics laboratory.

Then a Unit on operational surveillance of all internal systems was visited.

Surveillance of systems is performing by projection of operation on the wall with assisting of surveillance systems. The companies for maintenance of surveillance systems are contracted. These companies react to faults and remove them. All systems are overlapping in case of failure of some of them the continuous functioning will be maintained.

During the meeting with inspector Michael Gubbins, staff of Computer forensics Unit of Irish Police, presented the specific of working methods in Irish Police, compared with methods used in Lithuanian Police and differences in working methods were highlighted. Irish forensics Unit is under reorganisation now and at the end of the day a new and modern Computer forensics Unit will be established.

Lithuanian delegation visited Computer crime Unit where were acknowledged with the forensics process from the collection of digital evidences and to submitting to the trial at the Court. The process begins in the evidence registration room where three employees (non-officers) are working. These employees also move already solved cases in the archive.

The following evidence goes to the "examination room" for initial forensic and the determination of the potential evidence.

The process is fully automated and special software selects digital devices, which can be evidence proving a criminal offense. The report is developing and the remaining devices are returned to their owners.

At the next stage, the evidences go to the room of prioritisation, where their importance and priority are defined. The cases with especial importance and required quick investigation bypass this stage and go straight to the review room. The next step in usual cases after determining of priority is laboratory forensic and review room which hosts preview images and sorting by Classification.

Sorting is dividing according to the kind of criminal background of information and what type it is such images, for examples, child pornography, pornography and so on. Information that cannot be easily extracted from the suspect's computer device is examined in a forensics laboratory. From here, evidence is surrendered to the judicial process.

On the last visit day of the delegation again visited the University where met Ray Genoe. He presented FREETOOL project in detail and demonstrated newly developed tools. LT LEA has chosen two the most appropriate tools from the toolkit.  Later these tools will be adapted for Lithuanian LEA needs.

Then visit the CCI moved to the forensics laboratory, where Gerry Buttner presented the computer for forensics investigation and which were assembled at UCD CCI laboratory. Such computer price are lower 6 times from the market price, thus UCD CCI helps Irish Police officers by providing them with needed equipment at significantly lower costs.

During the visit it was agreed:

UCD CCI experts will train LT Police officers how to use tools from FREETOOL set.

Irish Police promised to share knowledge and configuration tool to be used to distribute pictures / photos into categories in the suspect's computer.

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