Student in the Spotlight: Ethan Fleisher

Q: Intro about you:

A: I’m a computer and digital forensics student aspiring for a job in the field.  I work at the Senator Patrick Leahy Center for Digital Investigation, I’m a CDF Tutor, and I also work part-time at Best Buy selling computers and tablets.  In the very little off-time I have, I kick back and relax with my girlfriend, watch TV, sports and movies, and go out with my friends.

Q: Projects you have worked on at LCDI and/or stuff you do at LCDI

A: I’ve worked on a lot of projects at the LCDI, with my personal projects ranging from Windows 8 Forensics R&D, casework for the State of Vermont, project management, to network and system administration.  I’ve assisted many of the interns and students with their project, which really reinforces the “student team model.”

Q: What would be your dream job after graduation?

A: I simply want to do forensics.  I have a few businesses in mind that I would absolutely love to work for, but as long as I get to do computer forensics, I’ll be happy.

Q: What’s your favorite part about working at the Leahy Center?

A: The atmosphere of the LCDI is probably the best part.  Everyone that works there wants to be there.  How often can someone go into a job and be surrounded by people that love what they do, and appreciate all the work that each individual puts into the job?  It’s amazing.

Q: Here’s the big debate:  Mac or Windows?

A: I’m not an Apple fan-boy, but they do make good products.  That being said, I’d rather use a Windows machine as well as Android for my phone.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do outside of class and work?

A: I spend a lot of my time outside of class with my girlfriend, playing with the dogs, watching sports and movies, and just kicking back.  I love going out with my friends and just having a good time.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your major?

A: Finding a job is definitely the hardest part about this major.  The classes and concepts themselves aren’t that hard if you pay attention and apply yourself.

Q: What’s your proudest moment?

A: Graduating college and landing a job will definitely be my proudest moment.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about your major?

A: CDF is such a unique field.  I love talking to people about what we do, explaining how important the field is to not only criminal justice, but cyber security as well.  CDF really hits on all the important aspects, and it’s amazing how many subdivisions there can be.  One examiner can be an expert in mobile phones, another malware, and another person the windows operating system.  It’s all about what you make it to be.

Q: What was your favorite class you have taken at Champlain?

A: My favorite class so far was probably Advanced Digital Forensic Investigations.  Diving into e-Discovery and litigation showed me an entire separate side of digital forensics.  The second half of the class was focused purely on malware analysis, which is an amazing amount of fun despite the degree of difficulty.

Q: Is the forensic technology as advanced as television shows such as “CSI” portray

A: If I could input a video of a class the LCDI taught on July 9th, 2012 here, I would.  The CSI portrayal of our job is amazingly absurd in some regards, for example – two people on one keyboard to stop an attacker.  We do work some magic, it just takes a bit longer than 45 minutes plus commercials.

Q: Can deleted files be recovered?

A: It all depends on the situation; given the right tools and the appropriate conditions, sure.  Sometimes we’re not so lucky though.

Q: What will you miss most about CC?

A: The most missed thing will just be the college experience itself.  I’ve met a lot of people and made a lot of connections that I plan on keeping, but it’s going to be a lot different in seven months when I have that piece of paper.

Q: Talk briefly about your capstone project.

A: My idea right now for capstone is to research the artifacts left behind on various machines from the Samsung Kies application.  This app allows for a user to remotely access their Samsung device from a computer, tablet, or mobile phone.  I’m hoping to discover important artifacts that can link this occurrence and then write a script to automatically search for the artifacts.

Q: Did you intern anywhere? If so where and what did you do?

A: I’ve interned at the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources as well as the Senator Patrick Leahy Center for Digital Investigation.  The VTANR was a great hands-on experience with help-desk and technical support issues.  It really allowed me to strengthen more core understanding of operating system problems, as well as maintaining client relations.  Having a previous IT internship really opens up a lot of doors for a higher-level CDF internship.

Q: Tell us about your job search process?

A: It’s strenuous and tedious.  I keep a spreadsheet for every job I’ve applied for, when I applied for it, what documents they asked for, contacts I’ve made at the place, and the company website.  It can be deflating to apply to ten jobs and hear back from one, but it’s the best way to ensure that I’ll land something.

Q: What area willing you or would like to work?

A: I’d like to work in the DC area or out west, ideally.  I don’t really have a preference; the main concern is just to get a job.  Chances are, the job is going to take me to different places anyway and I’ll get to see a lot of exciting areas.

Q: What are your expectations about life after CC?

A: I’m expecting life to be even more busy than it is now, which is saying a lot considering I work three jobs and go to school full time.  I’m hoping that it’s exciting though.  If I get to do computer forensics for my career, I know everything else will fall into place and go well.

Q: What quote would you like to leave behind?


More Research Projects
The Leahy Center Inventory Project
Social Media Footprint Awareness
My Experience on The VPN Comparison Team