Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Digital evidence includes data on computers and mobile devices, including audio, video, and image files as well as software and hardware. Digital evidence can be a part of investigating most crimes, since material relevant to the crime may be recorded in digital form. Methods for securely acquiring, storing and analyzing digital evidence quickly and efficiently are critical. ITL promotes the efficient and effective use of computer technology to investigate crimes. 


The project team develops tools for testing computer forensic software, including test criteria and test sets. ITL also maintains the National Software Reference Library – a vast archive of published software applications that is an important resource for both criminal investigators and historians.

  • National Software Reference Library (NSRL) -- The National Software Reference Library (NSRL) is designed to collect software from various sources and incorporate file profiles computed from this software into a Reference Data Set (RDS) of information. The RDS can be used by law enforcement, government, and industry organizations to review files on a computer by matching file profiles in the RDS.  More ...
  • Computer Forensics Tool Testing (CFTT) -- The goal of the Computer Forensic Tool Testing (CFTT) project at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is to establish a methodology for testing computer forensic software tools by development of general tool specifications, test procedures, test criteria, test sets, and test hardware.  More ...
  • Computer Forensic Reference Data Sets (CFReDS) -- NIST is developing Computer Forensic Reference Data Sets (CFReDS) for digital evidence. These reference data sets (CFReDS) provide to an investigator documented sets of simulated digital evidence for examination.  More ...
Created May 10, 2018, Updated May 11, 2018