Computer Forensics and How to Get Computer Forensics Job

There is little debate that electronic technology including computers and the Internet are one of the most important developments of recent times. Tasks that took days to complete and that demanded hundreds of man hours to effectively execute can now be easily done at the touch of a button. But the growing importance of technology is not without its drawbacks with probably the most major one being internet and computer enabled crime.

The growing capability of computers and applications as well as the ever increasing level of interconnectivity and information sharing has made it easier for persons with malicious intent to use computers to plan terrorism attacks, conduct intellectual property theft, credit card fraud and hack computer systems to gain access to confidential information. The sophisticated nature of these crimes has seen the growing need for experts in computer forensics.

Computer forensics experts are law enforcement officers, private investigators or members of corporate audit teams whose core duties revolve around the identification, collection and analysis of electronic evidence that demonstrates the occurrence of a crime or lack thereof. Sometimes referred to as cyber cops, digital detectives or cyber investigators, their goal is not only reactive where they piece together pieces of computer data from a crime scene – it is also proactive where the computer forensics expert will recommend the best approaches that can be used to seal system security gaps and reduce the risk of computer based crime from materializing.

Computer forensic jobs will often be found in the military, law enforcement agencies, government intelligence outfits, private investigators office, technology security consultants and audit firms. To have better chances of being called up for a computer forensic job interview, one must have a degree in computer science, computer engineering, electronic engineering or a related discipline. Knowledge of the criminal justice system and especially laws around cyber crime and management of digital evidence including gathering and storing the evidence are key. Due to the sensitive nature of this role, persons working as computer forensic experts must obtain security clearance.

A good understanding of at least one major programming language with working knowledge of others is also important. Computer forensic experts must know the workings of computer storage devices and the major operating systems.

Many persons that end up in computer forensic careers do not necessarily start in this line. Working in the general IT industry or in the general IT security niche for at least two years provides a good foundation for understanding the core workings of computer systems and the areas of control weakness that cyber criminals may explore.

The details that these digital detectives have to sift through require that one have a keen eye for detail if they are not to miss anything. Other than technical computer skills, the forensic experts must be analytical and have high integrity. The ability to work well in a high pressure environment is a must as many times, the forensics expert will be required to provide rapid feedback on an adverse incident.

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Computer Forensics In Everyday Practice

Computer forensics is a branch of forensics sciences, and is increasingly becoming important in court cases as forms of cybercrime are on the increase. As a result of the work of these computer experts, evidence can now be brought to court cases to help solve some of the worst internet and technology based crimes. This is one of the most exciting and cutting edge career in the computer field today.

Computer forensics experts work a little differently from other forensics experts, however. Forensic science itself is quite an old field of study, although many fields of forensics rely on cutting edge technology to help solve their crimes. What is different with computer forensics is often the nature of the data being studied. Instead of simply taking regular fingerprints, “digital fingerprints” are also examined, meaning the traces left by a criminal in the data files of a computer. Instead of taking blood or DNA samples, the history of computer access will also be examined. Computer forensics experts also tend to deal with murder crime scenes less and financial and business espionage crime scenes much more often.

However, there are important similarities between forensics work done on computers and other branches of the forensic sciences in that treating the data collected carefully is of the most importance. During your training to become a computer forensics specialist, you will learn not only how to analyze and collect data, but also how to prepare the documentation that the courts will need in order to accept this data during a case. You will also learn how to use sophisticated software to help analyze and retrieve data in crime scenes.

If you decide to pursue training to become a forensics specialist, you will have numerous employment options both in the private and the public sector once you have completed your training and received certification. For public sector jobs, you may be working with the police, military or similar institutions. Private sector work may be either for a company or a contract firm.

If you do work for the police or a similar agency, much of your time may be spent analyzing seized computers from crime scenes. Many criminals are unaware that simply emptying your computer’s trash bin does not erase data permanently from your computer and computer forensics specialists are often able to retrieve this data and use it to help convict criminals.

If you go to work for a private company, you may be in charge of such tasks as preventing the theft of sensitive data or doing forensics work after a breach has been discovered.

Both private and public sector jobs tend to pay well, and this is definitely a field of employment that expects significant growth in the future. If you are a person who loves working with computers, becoming a computer forensics specialist may be a great career choice for you.

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