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Reviewer Name: Martin Roots
Reviewer Qualifications: M.Sc. Information Security, Author of B.Sc. Information Security and Forensic Computing (Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge) MBCS
Book Title: The Basics of Digital Forensics
Subtitle: The Primer for Getting Started in Digital Forensics
Author: John Sammons
Date of Publishing: 2012
Price (UK&US price ñ full price, not discounted price): £18.99 , $29.95
Every time I read another book on this massive subject I learn something new ñ this book is no exception. It is definitely a ëKeeperí and will sit nicely in my library between ìComputer Forensics for Dummiesî and ìReal Digital Forensicsî.
It only has 171 pages of ëmeatí but provides enough of a meal to get a good taste of what is to come in the fascinating lifetime of a Digital Forensic Analyst. When authoring work at an introductory level it always difficult to determine what that level should be. From my experience in education I would put this book as First Semester, Year One undergraduate-level, in the expectation that subsequent study would go over most of the principles in greater depth later i.e. operating and file systems, networks, mobile environments etc.
The book is generally well structured and does not overload the reader with in-depth technical matters although I personally would have put the discussion of Labs and Tools (Chapter 3) and Legal (Chapter 7) as the last chapters. In my view entry-level readers need more of what theyíre expecting (technical detail) at the beginning of a book or they can lose interest. These chapters, placed at the end of the book, are where the real world comes into play and would thus provide a stepping off place.
A very useful feature of this work is that each chapter ends with a wide range of further reading that can help the student delve deeper. This is one of the factors that place the book above Computer Forensics for Dummies. The ability to learn for yourself (autonomy) is probably the most important attribute that anyone involved in the Digital Forensics World needs to develop in order just to (hopefully) keep up with developments. Using plenty of references provides a good starting point for personal development.
Whilst commenting on the level of technical detail, for myself there were times when I would have wished for a little more technical detail in order for the reader to fully appreciate the point being made, such as the Recycle Bin, data storage and file systems.
Chapter 4 (Documenting the Scene) is a very good addition to this book and the guidelines provided are universal in their application and importance. However, Chapter 7 (Legal) deals solely with U.S. legislation and is hence of little value outside of that country.
Clearly, in order for both of these sections to be of value to a UK student, the ACPO Guidelines and an introduction to the Data Protection and Computer Misuse Acts would need to be added in order to avoid students being exposed to later ëproblemsí.
At the time of this review the companion website was not accessible so my hope for reader exposure to some Open Source tools and example tutorials supporting the content cannot be confirmed but even without this, the price is one that I would be prepared to ask students to pay. I believe students of the topic would be encouraged by this book where other books in my library would prove too much of a challenge at an introductory level.
The book provides an interesting and stimulating introduction to this vast subject. Coverage of all major aspects is made and further reading suggested at the end of each chapter. I believe this book offers value for money and would recommend it to any serious student starting out in the subject.
Marks: 4 out of 5