Starting at The Leahy Center
My journey at The Leahy Center, to my surprise, has been really exciting and enjoyable so far. I’m looking forward to hopefully promoting my internship into a job next semester.
It all started with my interview with Joseph Williams, the director of The Leahy Center. He told me that if I was accepted into the program, I would be working on a project called IoT Extraction. Although I was really happy when I got accepted, I was also nervous because this would be my first time getting experience in the field I’ve been studying and basing my career path on. On top of that, I didn’t really have a clue what IoT Extraction meant, nor did I know anything about the components it involved. I knew I was confident in my programming skills though and was certain that I could be a functioning and beneficial member of the team as long as I had a little training.
My first week there was a bit of a nightmare. There wasn’t anybody there to help me get set up initially and all the computers in the room I was supposed to work in were all recently replaced, so I had to install some of the software needed to get the project environment set up. Fortunately, there was a Google Drive set up with a lot of information about the project, so I took the liberty of reading most of it during my first week to get familiarized with the project and its environment. Additionally, the project was set up in C#, a language I was somewhat familiar with, which right off of the bat relieved a lot of stress. My main focus was getting the environment set up and ready to work on for the next week.
Getting into Extraction
At our team’s first meeting at the end of that week, Murat Gungor, the project team’s lead, cleared up a lot of questions I had so I’d be ready to start working on the project the next week. I learned that the project’s main goal was to extract files from IoT (internet of things) devices— things like phones, smartwatches, home devices like Amazon’s echo, etc. We’d be using a platform called ADB (Android Debugging Bridge) to do so. I had a plethora of tasks to choose from to start working on. Since then, the project has pretty much been smooth sailing.
Unknowingly, I picked the most important part of the project to work on: dealing with the metadata of the files we extract. Metadata is the data pertaining to the actual file itself rather than the contents of the file. It includes information like when the file was created/ last accessed, the permissions on who can use the file, where the file is located, etc. Since the method we use to extract the files creates a copy of the file on the computer, therefore creating new metadata, I had to figure out how to change the metadata of the file we created to match that of the original file. This way the user would actually be able to do digital forensic work with it.
With the help of Cybersecurity Specialist Ali Hadi, I narrowed down what needed to be done to complete that task. Since then, I have created methods to detect what type of filesystem the original file resides on, as well as get the metadata of the original file and reflect it onto the copy according to what file system type is detected.
The next thing I’ll be working on is creating a virtual hard drive. This will store the extracted files so that they can be easily transferred and accessed. I know that all the stuff I wrote about may not be all that exciting in the grand scheme of things, but overall, I have really enjoyed working on this project and at The Leahy Center. It is definitely a great beginning to my career in computer science.
Written by Reece Cristea ‘23 // Computer Science & Innovation