Opportunities In Computer Forensics Field
With the evolution of the cyber and digital world, almost all tasks and activities done by people today now involve computer and the internet. This evolution made way to a lot of changes and opportunities like the social networking world, online communication technologies, and the online market making communication, socializing, and even profit-making possible and easier through computers. However, just like in many changes, developments and improvements also come with negative components like increased incidence of crimes involving computers and digital media devices.
With millions of people now using computers and the internet, a lot of people with not-so-good intentions also find ways to do illegal activities using the internet and computer. People committing crimes and using computers leave evidences, which can be traced and used by the investigators. In order to detect these problems and capture the culprits, the federal government hire specialists in computer forensics or also sometimes referred as cyber forensics.
What Is Computer Forensic?
Computer forensics or computer forensic science is fast growing discipline and becoming a significant profession in the criminal justice industry because of the growing numbers of crimes involving digital gadgets like smart phones and computers. People specializing in computer or cyber forensics are known as computer forensic specialists or investigators. This kind of discipline is a combination of investigative techniques, technological knowledge, and informative skills. Computer forensics today covers a wide range of issues like identity theft, embezzlement, illegal hacking, fraud, and various cyber and civil crimes.
This type of field involves the investigation of computers and other digital gadgets to get useful evidences on individuals who are alleged to be committing or involved in crimes. Computer forensic specialists also analyze and search various data storage devices like PDAs, tablet PCs, electronic notebooks, and even video game consoles that might hold important evidences that can be used in their investigation. While most of the evidences they find are used in computer crimes, information and evidences found through computer forensics are now also being used in civil proceedings.
What Do Computer Forensic Specialists Or Investigators Do?
In general, computer forensic specialists or analysts search for available computer and digital evidences and analyze the integrity of the available evidences to determine if it can be used in crime solving. Together with the investigators, they conduct examinations and prepare the digital evidences for trial purposes. They may also conduct interviews and take statements based on the computer evidences gathered.
To be an effective computer forensic specialist, they are usually required to update every information and tools they used because of the fast-changing technology. Computer forensic specialists are also required to translate technical digital information into plain language or terms so investigators and lawyers can accurately understand the information and evidences.
Computer forensics investigators are also tasked to replicate the information retrieved from the storage devices to secure the information in case something goes wrong with the device. If there are hidden or deleted files, they also recover these files using some file recovery tools or programs. They may even deliberately hack a website as authorized by the owners in order to identify vulnerable components in the website and build a stronger and more secure site for the company or organization.
Jobs In Computer Forensics Science
Computer forensics is a growing field and more and more subfields are emerging under this field due to the increasing issues and crimes involving computers, internet, and digital media. This is why a lot of jobs are now also emerging under the computer forensics science and some of the most common jobs you can find are:
- Computer forensic analyst – This is the main job options for computer forensics degree holders. As mentioned above, computer forensic analysts search for digital data like emails and erased digital files, and other computer files containing evidences that can be used in solving crimes.
- Federal government special agent – Computer forensics graduates can also work in various federal government agencies as special agents like in the FBI or the Federal Bureau of Investigation, CIA or Central Intelligence Agency, the IRS, and the military. Computer forensics special agents may also work in the Department of Homeland Security specializing in counter-terrorism activities and counterintelligence involving the digital and cyber world.
- Ethical hacker – Ethical hackers are hired by companies and organizations in order to find out the vulnerable points in their computer network systems. By identifying these vulnerabilities, companies will be able to strengthen their systems and repair problems to prevent illegal hackers from infiltrating the system.
- Information security manager – computer forensic specialists who have gained more experience and training can qualify for higher positions and become manager of various digital and computer forensics departments.
How To Become A Computer Forensic Specialist?
To become a computer forensic specialist, a person must first obtain a bachelor’s degree preferably in computer forensic science. This degree program is the direct path in becoming a computer forensic specialist. A bachelor’s degree in computer science can also be a good option in becoming a computer forensic investigator. Some schools are now offering computer science degrees concentrating in computer forensics so those who are planning to enter the computer forensics field can easily qualify for entry-level computer forensics jobs.
With the increasing need for computer forensic experts, some schools or agencies find ways to provide training for professionals who are planning to enter the computer or cyber forensic field. Aside from computer-related degree programs, people who are already professionals in the field of law enforcement can also venture in the field of cyber forensic by taking a special training on computer and digital forensic s. Online degree programs in computer forensics are also available today and offered by various accredited online schools and universities.
Some of the most common areas tackled in computer forensic training programs are computer and internet or cyber crimes, financial fraud and online scam, pornography and exploitation, and illegal hacking. Continuous training is also very necessary in this kind of profession because of the constantly changing technology.