The Northeast Cybersecurity and Forensics Center at Utica College

Dr. Norrie: Welcome back to another episode of UCTV. My name is Dr. James Norrie. I’m the Dean of Business and Justice Studies. And we are coming at you live from our studio here in Utica, New York. I’m with Tony Martino. Tony is the Director of the Northeast Cybersecurity and Forensic Center, also known as the NCFC, and that is a crime lab right on campus. So tell us a little bit, Tony, about what the lab does.

Prof. Martino: The lab is a partnership between the academic environment and government and private sector resources. Our main function is to analyze digital evidence in support of either law enforcement investigations or also private cases.

Dr. Norrie: Wow. And this lab is right on campus?

Prof. Martino: It is right on campus, housed in the Economic Crime and Justice Studies Building.

Dr. Norrie: Wow. And we have students working in this lab, I know.

Prof. Martino: We do indeed. We have students that fill several roles, including interns, volunteers and also research assistants.

Dr. Norrie: Neat. So what kind of crime situations can students work on in a lab like this?

Prof. Martino: Students work on a wide array of different cases that range from everything from homicides to Homeland Security investigations involving border crossings, all the way down to burglaries, robberies, and also, in the case of private clients, cases that involve litigation support in lawsuits and employment issues.

Dr. Norrie: And none of the cases so far have involved graduate students and professors?

Prof. Martino: Not at all. [laughing].

Dr. Norrie: So with students working on these kinds of cases, what kind of training or background did you have? What makes you the kind of person who can teach them how to do this work?

Prof. Martino: My background is from law enforcement. I had a 20-year career in law enforcement, 10 of which was specifically involved in the investigation of computer crimes. I also have a master's degree from here at Utica College, which prepared me for this future that I’m now sitting in and now directing an entire operation of students, faculty and other staff working on these cases.

Dr. Norrie: Great. And when you did your master's degree, what was the major benefit for you professionally in doing that?

Prof. Martino: The benefit for me was almost instantaneous. Very shortly after my master's degree, I was actually promoted in the police department because I now brought management knowledge and management skills to the table. It also opened doors for me, as far as being able to return to campus and teach as an adjunct and gain even more experience and knowledge.

Dr. Norrie: Great. Well, it's really nice to have you here. We have this incredible balance on our faculty between people who are practitioners and people who are academics. So as somebody who’s been both, in the real world and now teaching students, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give a prospective student looking for a program in, say, cybersecurity or forensics?

Prof. Martino: The best advice for someone going into the cybersecurity or forensics field is find a program that provides as much real-world experience as possible and obviously that’s been a big focus here at Utica College, where we have practitioners teaching in the classroom. We have the actual tools that are used in the field in the classroom. When it comes time for job interviews, that’s invaluable.

Dr. Norrie: Great. Well, Tony, thank you very much for joining us today.

Prof. Martino: My pleasure.

Dr. Norrie: And for the students watching, go to Cybersecurity faculty page and find out more about our faculty and how they can help you get the job. Thanks for joining us.

Watch a video interview with Tony Martino as he describes how cybersecurity students work with the Northeast Cybersecurity and Forensic Center (NCFC) to help provide cutting edge research, development and service in the fields of digital forensics and cybersecurity. The NCFC provides quality computer forensic services, computer incident response, and cybersecurity training to law enforcement, government and private industry clients. Services include:

  • Mobile phone, tablet and advanced device forensic analysis

  • Expert witness testimony qualified in federal and state courts

  • Risk assessment

  • Gap analysis

  • Vulnerability assessment

  • Customized response plan creation

  • Implementation assistance

  • Digital evidence collection

  • Incident response and recovery

  • Online child exploitation investigation (law enforcement only)