Diary of a Student – Part 2 – 25th January 2011 – Assessment Time!

Apologies for my slightly late entry, my weekend was filled with coursework and Christmas 2 with my girlfriend’s family (don’t ask!).

The past week or so has not really been very exciting, mainly finishing coursework and revising for the exam that took place last Friday, I’ll get to that shortly.

Firstly, the coursework! That one word that every student runs in fear from. Luckily, it’s not been too bad this time around. I started last week finishing up a 5000-word essay on Computer Ethics that I quite enjoyed. It was interesting researching and learning the history of Computer Ethics and the various issues surrounding it over the last 60 years or so. Who’d have thought a Second World War Mathematics professor could have predicted the ethical issues of modern day technology? I am, of course, referring to Professor Norbert Wiener, who taught Maths and Engineering at MIT during the 1940’s. It was certainly some research well worth doing as it has helped me to understand more about the issues surrounding not only Computing, but Forensics and Computing too!

My other main focus last week was revising for my exam on C Programming and Operating Systems. Joy of joys. Now if there’s one thing I knew I would struggle with, it was going to be programming. After the mock, I had been seriously worrying about that part of the test and it was definitely the hardest part of the real exam. The 300-line program almost drove me to insanity but, with some perseverance (and a little bit of divine intervention, I think), I managed to figure out all but the last tweak that would enable the program to print out what I needed it to. The operating systems part of the test was much better, locating partitions and their block addresses and block sizes, finding partitions within an extended partition and working out how much unallocated space there was on the disk, a few simple commands in the terminal and I was there! (Hurrah..!)

I briefly mentioned, in my last post, a report about a malware sample that I had to statically and dynamically analyse and identify through various means of sandboxing. That piece of work is also now finished and I’m going to play around in Adobe Illustrator creating a nice fancy front cover for the report, because I’m sad like that.

Other than that and the exam, not much else to report, although there was a slight mishap with some lost Tools and Techniques Workbooks, which, as luck would have it, were lost in the post over Christmas thanks to all the wonderful snow. Luckily, I managed to redo them thanks to a last minute email from my tutor and once again enjoyed the tasks of password cracking and hiding techniques such as Steganography, Alternate Data Streams and Bit Shifting.

I may sound a bit weird to some but I am really enjoying all that I am learning on the course to date, which is kind of the point, I know. I think I always felt the subject was going to frazzle my brain completely, with me coming from a Science degree onto a Computing one. Luckily, the teaching has broken me in gently with only a few hiccups along the way. With that, I conclude this weeks (well, last weeks) student diary entry. I am still keen to hear what you all have to say on the ethical issues I mentioned last week; in fact, I am very keen to hear any thoughts on the subject so post away.

Next post I’ll let you know how my second Fundamentals of Forensics and Security exam has gone (Cryptography and Networking  – fun times!), for now I hope you have a very enjoyable week.



About M Isbell

News Editor at DFM