The Open University has launched a postgraduate course designed to offer a basic understanding of digital evidence collection, forensic computing and IT incident management in criminal investigations.

Computer Forensics and Investigations balances the legal and technical aspects of the collection of evidence in internet related crimes such as email bullying, online fraud, and electronic identity theft. The course is relevant to IT professionals wishing to broaden their skills, human resources managers who need to understand the issues and legal professionals seeking a new challenge.

Students will learn how to identify, acquire, preserve and analyse evidence as well as gaining an overview of relevant law. They will use authentic computer forensic tools during simulated investigations that replicate real-life situations, which have developed in conjunction with digital forensic consultancy Evidence Talks Ltd.

The material for the course has been written by Peter Sommer, a legal and technical expert in the field who has frequently acted as an expert witness in high-profile cases ranging from terrorism and fraud, internet child abuse and international hacking to corporate espionage, defamation and murder.

"Cybercrime is a major issue. Most businesses are likely to suffer from incidents where digital investigation and evidence are required. For example, disputed transactions, employee disputes and minor frauds and attacks. This course aim to satisfy the huge need to support the 'first responder' as it is at this point that much useful information is lost, or even inadvertently destroyed," commented Sommer.

The course offers 15 points and can be used towards a postgraduate qualification. The first presentation starts in May 2008, with registration closing at the end of March. The course will run again in November 2008. For more information visit