Project presentations on the website

Every project supported by Gebert Rüf Stiftung is made accessible with a web presentation that informs about the core data of the project. With this public presentation, the foundation publishes the funding results achieved and contributes to the communication of science to society.


Competence Center for Complex Digital Forensics - BREF 2011


Für den Inhalt der Angaben zeichnet die Projektleitung verantwortlich.


Dieses Projekt ist einer der fünf Gewinner der Jahresausschreibung 2011 «BREF – Brückenschläge mit Erfolg» – ein Kooperationsprogramm von Gebert Rüf Stiftung und Rektorenkonferenz der Fachhochschulen der Schweiz – KFH. Partenaires: Lucerne University of Applied Sciences an Arts, School of Business, Information Systems (HSLU-W / IWI); Lucerne University of Applied Sciences an Arts, Engineering and Architecture, CC Electronics; University of Applied Sciences in Geneva (HES-SO), Information Systems

Project data

  • Project no: GRS-060/11 
  • Amount of funding: CHF 267'000 
  • Approved: 01.11.2011 
  • Duration: 03.2012 - 10.2014 
  • Area of activity:  BREF – Soziale Innovationen, 2011 - 2017

Project management

Project description

This project concerns the use of scientific methods for uncovering evidences in criminal investigations involving digital objects (cell phone, computer, etc.). In short, the project aims at installing, in a durable way, a Swiss focal point and a Competence Center for producing methods, best practices and automated tools for conducting forensically sound analysis of digital devices.

As of today, the criminal investigations, led by police forces, rely more and more on the scientific evidence to establish facts and culpability. However, the forensic tools and methods have a hard time to follow the increasing complexity of digital devices on the one hand, and the extremely fast changing technologies on the other hand. In particular, the forensic tools and methods needed to recover erased or hidden information from digital devices are far from being readily available at a reasonable cost.

Considering the growing importance of forensic investigation in the handling of criminal cases, research is substantial in order to devise sound forensic methods for small scale digital devices. Furthermore, a focal point for law enforcement and private companies, where such expertise will develop, is crucial.

What is special about the project?

This project gathers three different fields of scientific expertise, from the two main linguistic regions of Switzerland. The scientific fields range from the comprehension of low-level electronic equipment holding digital data, to the structure of information and the reconstruction of deleted/hidden evidences. To our knowledge, the pooling of such resources inside a one research project is unique. The creation of a distributed competence center in order to structure this pooling is also a premiere in Switzerland.


The web site signaling our presence as a focal point is running. Now that the project is concluded, the competence center is taking over and accepts digital forensics missions. A complete forensic lab has been established in Geneva, thanks to HES-SO complementary funding to the project. The startup DIFORS was created in Olten (CH) by ex-member Maurizio Tuccillo in September 2013.

The project’s results helped in solving criminal cases where locked devices were found: skimmer device in a case of credit card fraud, cell phones in a murder case and attempted murder case, GPS in a drug trafficking case.



Persons involved in the project

Prof. Dr. David Billard, project leader, University of Applied Sciences in Geneva (HES-SO), Information Systems david.notexisting@nodomain.combillard@hesge.notexisting@nodomain.comch
Prof. Dr. Maurizio Tuccillo, founder of DIFORS startup formerly from the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences an Arts
Prof. Erich Styger, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences an Arts, Engineering and Architecture, CC Electronics

Last update to this project presentation  07.03.2023