The Development of Digital Forensics Workforce Competency on the Example of Estonian Defence League

Marek Matsalu
In 03.07.2014 Regulation No. 108 was introduced which regulates the conditions and pro-cedure of the involvement of the Estonian Defence League (EDL) Cyber Defence Unit (CDU) in ensuring cyber security. This means that EDL can be brought in by the Information System Authority, Ministry of Defence or the authorities of its area of government within the scope of either of their tasks e.g. ensuring the continuity of information and communication technology infrastructure and in handling and solving cyber security incidents while applying both active and passive measures. In January 2018 EDL CDU’s Digi-tal Evidence Handling Group had to be re-organized and, thus, presented a proposal for internal curriculum in order to further instruct Digital Evidence specialists. While describing the CDU's tasks, it was noted that the CDU's partner institutions / organizations have not mapped out their specialists’ current competencies. With this in mind, we set out to create a comprehensive list of needs and constraints (taking into account the community standards of DF) to develop a DF-based competence framework that supports the devel-opment of CDU professionals. Hence, we studied the current situation of CDU, their existing training program, and contemplated which features we need to consider and ex-plore for further development. In order to assemble comparable results and to achieve the goal the model had to be able to solve the 5 following tasks: 1. Competency mapping, 2. Goal setting and reassessment, 3. Scheduling the training plan, 4. Accelerating the recruitment process, and 5. Promoting the continuous development of professionals. The frame-work was developed on the basis of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (NICE Framework), which was revised to meet the needs of DF specialists, including EDL CDU. Additions were supplemented in terms of levels, specialization, and job descriptions. The proposals included the DF limitations and standards introduced in the work, which ultimately resulted in a proposal for a Digital Forensics Competency ontology, EDL CDU structure change, Suggested Instruc-tional Strategies for Digital Forensics Use With Each Level of revised Bloom's Taxonomy, a new DF standard subdivision – Unmanned Systems Forensics, and Digital Forensic Competency Model Framework. The list of tasks and skills were compiled from international certification distribution organizations and curricula, and their focus on DF Special-ist Competencies. Mini-Delphi or Estimate-Talk-Estimate (ETE) techniques were applied to evaluate the proposed model. An initial estimation of competencies and priorities were given to the EDL CDU partner institutions for expert advice and evaluation. Considering the feedback, improvements were made to the model and a proposal was put forward to the CDU with a future work plan. In general, the proposed competence framework describes the expected scope of competence of an DF specialist in the EDL CDU to enhance their role as a rapid response team. The framework helps in defining the expected compe-tencies and capabilities of digital forensics in practice and offers guidance to the experts in the choice of specialization. The proposed model takes into account the long-term effect (hire-to-retire). Due to the complexity of the model, the framework has a long implementation phase — the maximum time frame for achieving the full effect for the organization is expected to be 5 years. These proposals were approved by EDL CDU and the proposed plan was first launched in April 2019.
Graduation Thesis language
Graduation Thesis type
Master - Cyber Security
Raimundas Matulevičius, PhD, Hillar Põldmaa, MSc
Defence year
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