Cyber5W's CCDFA Certification - A Review

As part of winning the Magnet CTF from 2022 I was gifted a coupon to take the Cyber5W Digital Forensic Analyst course on-demand. It only too me over a year to actually get time to plug away at the training and to actually finish it with work and life happening. Here are some quick thoughts after finishing the course and taking the certification exam.


Right out of the gate I think the content of the course was great. It was very thorough in going through the basics of forensics such as acquiring evidence, hashing and validated evidence, working with different types of data and timestamps. You get some really great hands on experience with some free tools that can help you on your way to becoming a forensicator.

Even for me who has almost 10 years experience in the field it was all a pleasant refresher on tools, techniques and artifacts that I may not see in my day to day basis. I loathe having to dive deep into the hexadecimal to pull out details but sometimes it's a necessary evil for a case where your tools can't automate it for you. Ali walks you through some of the more complicated details in video clips which helps with the hands on approach of teaching.


I found some of the labs to be a bit cumbersome. Some links for tools were outdated or didn't even exist anymore. Some links were broken and some evidence files for certain sections didn't directly align with what we were supposed to examine. The platform videos would periodically stop working at times which was a little frustrating so I would have to skip them and come back at a later date to watch them. These minor gripes were fixed relatively quickly by Ali and his team at Cyber5W after requesting assistance.

Certification Test

This was probably my favorite part of the whole course was being able to apply what was learned throughout and through my experience as a forensic analyst to "compete" for a certification. This test is different than most where it's not multiple choice questions but rather a complete practical examination of a predefined set of evidence. Your final report of your findings is then graded with a 70% required to pass.

Needless to say there was plenty of artifacts to dive into across multiple evidence files (your test may be different than mine). The hardest thing for me was actually getting thoughts down in a timely manner to make a thorough report in the 7 days timeframe that you are given to complete it all.

After submitting, the review process took about 2.5 weeks but I finally got the call I was anticipating. A review meeting was placed and I got some really good and constructive feedback on my report but all in all I passed!!!

I was super ecstatic to add another certification to my list especially being only one of three to have this certification to date. Much thanks again to Ali Hadi, Jessica Hyde, and the Cyber5W team.

If you're interested in taking some great forensic courses at a fraction of the price check out the Academy, especially the site pass!