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(Some of) Tarah Melton’s Forensic 4:cast Award Nominations

The Forensic 4:cast Awards, coordinated by Lee Whitfield, has been a great way to recognize those in the DFIR community who go above and beyond to contribute their amazing work in the field by sharing their knowledge, research, and tools.

Over the years, some amazing contributors to DFIR have been recognized in the Forensic 4:cast awards, and we at Magnet Forensics are incredibly honored to have been voted DFIR Commercial Tool and DFIR Team of the Year last year! Nominations for this year are open until May 15, so we hope you’ll take a moment to recognize us again this year.

Some of the forensic examiners here at Magnet Forensics have been given the opportunity to share some of our own personal recommendations of who we are nominating. If you haven’t read the picks from my colleagues, Jessica Hyde and Trey Amick, you can do so here and here! The following are (some of) my own nods to the community! These are opinions of my own, and not of Magnet Forensics.

DFIR Resource of the Year

Giving a shout out to Brett Shavers for hosting the site for DFIR Resource of the Year. houses a TON of resources for the DFIR community and is continuously updated. Here you’ll find links to training, webinars, tools, blogs, jobs, keyword lists, white papers, CTFs…. seriously, the list goes on and on.

And if you are looking to share with the DFIR community, it’s a great place to submit your own resources that you use in your examinations! is an awesome place to find heaps of useful resources in DFIR.

DFIR Degree Program or Training Class of the Year

Full disclosure that I am a graduate of this program myself, so I know firsthand the excellence of the Digital Forensics Undergraduate Program at Bloomsburg University. This is a repeat nomination for me from last year, but it is still a deserving one! Students in the program graduate with a solid knowledge of digital forensics, and are trained to use some of the more popular commercial forensic tools to prepare them for a career in the DFIR industry. The BU Digital Forensics program is also a National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense Education with a focus in the area of digital forensics by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. This is an achievement only attained by meeting very stringent criteria in the curriculum, which demonstrates the quality of education given by the faculty. Additionally, they host an annual digital forensics conference, BloomCON, which in past years has drawn in more than 500 attendees, with tons of valuable lectures, labs and forensics challenges.

DFIR Mentor of the Year

I LOVE this new category in the 4:cast awards this year. And yes, again full disclosure, my nominee for this category is also a Magnet Forensics employee. But my reasons for nominating Jessica Hyde for DFIR Mentor of the Year goes way beyond that. Not only has she been a personal mentor to me, but Jessica has continuously been a champion for the greater good of EVERYONE in the DFIR Community. It goes without saying that her DFIR knowledge is significant, and the additional efforts that she participates in, such as her work with DFRWS, helps to motivate the community as a whole. Beyond that, you truly won’t find anyone else who goes out of their way to support and promote her fellow forensicators as she much as she does, including urging others to share to the DFIR community, offering kudos to those who contribute, and spreading the word of the great work being done in DFIR across the board. So, this kudos goes to you, Jess!

DFIR Social Media Contributor of the Year

This one easily goes to Brian Moran and Kathryn Hedley for me. Not only do they share useful DFIR content for the community, but additionally, the #DFIRFit movement is so important! We are all passionate about the work we do in digital forensics, but Brian and Kathryn use their social media platform to encourage other forensicators to get out from behind the keyboard for a bit! Even when I’m heads down in research or projects, reading their posts inspires me to make sure I take a break from the DFIR world and get moving!

DFIR Newcomer of the Year

A fantastic newcomer in 2019 who we are lucky to have join the Magnet Forensics family is Mike Williamson. Prior to joining the Magnet team, Mike created his blog and has continued to share his knowledge and research. Of note is his ability to articulate how to dive into the world of reverse engineering mobile applications and the value you can get from doing so. Just check out this post on decryption of the Private Photo Vault app as an example! Great work for sure, and I suspect we will continue to see even more awesome contributions to DFIR from Mike in 2020.

Digital Forensic Investigator of the Year

Alexis Brignoni. No question here. Alexis’s contributions to the DFIR community are unparalleled. Throughout 2019, he continuously shared his tools, knowledge, and research, making it clear that he is an investigative force to be reckoned with! But don’t kid yourself, he is as humble as they come and continues to strive to learn and promote within the DFIR community, and makes sure to encourage examiners to use best practices when working digital forensics investigations. In 2019, Alexis began compiling his iOS parsing scripts into one tool called iLEAPP, giving examiners an easy way to review many key artifacts in those devices. Thank you, Alexis, for your contributions and collaborations in the DFIR community!

Those are just a few of my picks for the Forensic 4:cast Awards! Nominations end May 15, 2020, so make sure to submit those in DFIR who have helped you along the way in 2019! We appreciate the support of our customers and always value your feedback, so please don’t hesitate to reach out at

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