Digital Forensics Lab at  DSU

This lab is a free resource for law enforcement agencies.

Our goals are simple:

  1. Provide forensic expertise by conducting analysis on a variety of digital devices submitted by law enforcement.
  2. Conduct open source intelligence investigations for the S.D. Division of Consumer Protection.
  3. Training law enforcement in proper preservation of digital evidence, digital forensics and open source intelligence.
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We are a team of cybersecurity professionals dedicated to assisting law enforcement with the analysis of information from a variety of digital devices. We have attained a minimum of graduate-level depth in applied research, diverse tactics and techniques in computer forensics and cybercrime. We utilize validated forensic tools that gather digital artifacts which may be evidence for ongoing criminal investigations. We provide a detailed report to law enforcement that can be presented in court if requested by the prosecution.


In technical terms, the Digital Forensics Lab at DSU analyzes and parses files or pieces of information from hard drives, mobile devices, laptops, tablets and IoT devices that will likely reveal valuable evidence that could help apprehend the guilty or exonerate the innocent. In layman's terms, the Digital Forensics Lab helps law enforcement investigate cybercriminals, helps businesses recover from cybercrime and provides intelligence to law enforcement professionals that will assist others working hard to stop cybercrime.

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The Digital Forensics Lab is a partnership between Dakota State University, the South Dakota Office of Attorney General and the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation. Together, we work to stop cyber criminals one mouse click at a time.

  • Every smartphone, every computer, every tablet, or smartTv has the capacity to hold valuable evidence. It's important for SD law enforcement to have a place where these items can be examined professionally and ensure the integrity of the item is not compromised.

    -Matt Burns, Chief – Sioux Falls Police Department

  • Almost every crime, conflict, or situation our agency is addressing has digital evidence related to it. Very few agencies have the ability and capacity to process and examine digital evidence. If this evidence is not examined or utilized, cases could go unsolved, not prosecuted, and crime victims crimes will not receive justice. The cost free and professional resource provided by DSU for digital evidence examination, will allow our agencies to fulfill our mission and commitment to the citizens of our communities.

    -Dave McNeil, Chief – Aberdeen Police Department

  • DSU's digital forensic services have provided our department with valuable information on a number of cases. We appreciate their thoroughness and expediency in their work product. I look forward to working with them again.

    -Crystal Brady, Lieutenant – Vermillion Police Department

  • Working with DSU is a force multiplier for law enforcement in our region. They have the knowledge and experience to help us find the evidence and eventually, the truth.

    -Brent Gromer, ICAC Commander – SD Division of Criminal Investigation

  • CyberSecurity threats are always evolving, the research team in the digital forensics lab is committed to finding novel approaches to identify, acquire, preserve and report on cybercrime.

    -Dr. Ashley Podhradsky, Associate Dean, Associate Professor, Founding Director- DigForCE Lab, Founder CybHER - Dakota State University



When a hacker gains unauthorized access to system or computer data.


A malicious software designed to cause damage to a device, client or network.


Analyzes and parses files or pieces of information from hard drives, mobile devices, laptops, tablets, IoT devices.


Research existing and emerging digital devices for investigative techniques.


A form of malware that searches and encrypts data, then demands a ransom.


Social media allows the outside world to get a glimpse into your life. No matter the platform, users are able find you, contact you, and view your life through pictures. Because of this, it’s important to take caution and alter your privacy and activity settings.

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Who can submit evidence?

The Digital Forensics Lab partners with local law enforcement to assist with the retrieval and analysis of information from a variety of digital devices. If digital issues occur, we recommend reaching out to your local law enforcement officials to work with the Digital Forensics Lab.

Is there any cost associated with the analysis?

No. As long as you are currently employed with a law enforcement agency and it's an active criminal investigation.

I own a business affected by cybercrime. What should I do?

Don't panic; you aren't alone. According to Forbes, 58 percent of cyber attack victims are small businesses. Contact your local law enforcement immediately so we can start forensic work right away. Next, secure your computer. Don't send, delete or tamper with anything else on the system, as we will use that information to start our investigation.

Please contact the S.D. Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection at 1-800-300-1986.

What can I do to prevent future attacks?

We offer security awareness training, but here are some things you can do on your own:
  • / Contact IT staff for any suspicious emails.
  • / Inspect URL and email addresses carefully.
  • / Do not click on any attachments or links in emails that you cannot verify.
  • / When in doubt, call the sender of the email to verify.
  • / Backup systems regularly, including in offline storage.
  • / Think passphrase instead of password and don't reuse them.
  • / Use a password manager.
  • / Keep Operating Systems and software (including Antivirus) updated – consider enabling auto-updates.
  • / Use multifactor authentication.
  • / Watch what and how you're connecting to networks – consider using a VPN.