DFRWS Vision

Bring together leading researchers, practitioners, industry, tool developers, academics, law enforcement, and military from around the globe to tackle current and emerging challenges in digital forensic science.

DFRWS Mission

The inclusive, long-term mission for DFRWS includes:

  • Attract new perspectives and foster exchange of ideas to advance digital forensic science
  • Promote scholarly discussion related to digital forensic research and its application
  • Involve experienced analysts and examiners from law enforcement, military and civilian sectors to focus research on practitioner requirements, multiple investigative environments, and real world usability
  • Define core technologies that form a focus for useful research and development
  • Foster the discovery, explanation and presentation of conclusive, persuasive evidence that will meet the heightened scrutiny of the courts and other decision-makers in civilian and military environments
  • Establish and expand a common lexicon so the community speaks the same language
  • Engage in regular debate and collaborative activity to ensure a sharp focus, high interest, and efficacy
  • Maintain a dynamic community of experts from academia and practice
  • Increase scientific rigor in digital forensic science
  • Inspire the next generation to invent novel solutions


DFRWS is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to bringing all sectors of the digital forensic community together to address the emerging challenges of our field. DFRWS organizes digital forensic conferences, challenges, and international collaboration to help drive the direction of research and development.

DFRWS conferences welcome all community members to share research papers, practitioner presentations, and works in progress in a friendly atmosphere. Every gathering includes panels, tutorials, and other "breakout sessions," where various issues related to digital forensics are discussed.

Ultimately, it is the goal of DFRWS to establish a professional tone and direction for this rapidly evolving field. It is notable that many new developments in the field have their roots in works and breakout discussions at DFRWS conferences. As such, the conference is not only a snapshot of the state of the research in the field, but is also a useful pointer towards the future.

The History of DFRWS

The first Digital Forensic Research Workshop was held in August 2001. The vision was to bring together researchers, practitioners, industry, academics, law enforcement, and military with the goal of opening lines of communication. The result of this inaugural event was the technical report “A Road Map for Digital Forensic Research” that is frequently referenced as a foundational framework for the domain.

Since then, an annual conference has been held in various cities around the United States and Europe to present and discuss current and emerging challenges in digital forensic science. The scope of DFRWS has increased to include annual challenges and technical working groups. In 2005, Digital Forensic Research Workshop, Inc. became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Founding Inspiration

The initial vision and impetus for the DFRWS was provided by John Faust, John Feldman, Joseph Giordano, Dan Kalil, Chet Maciag, Gary Palmer, Thomas Parisi, and William Wolf. We would also like to thank the IFGB of the AFRL for contributing the time of interns, administrative assistants (Martha Kraeger), graphic arts materials and products, and support contractors (Jack Mineo and Ann Robinson) to the initial workshops.