What is Computer Forensics?
Computer forensics is an exciting branch of digital forensics that focuses on digital evidence located on computers and other digital storage media. This digital evidence can be used to prosecute a crime, gather evidence for litigation, or to protect a company from employees who are suspected of fraud. Digital forensics experts are required to have a strong background in computer software, internet protocol, computer systems, and related fieldwork. Qualifications required for a forensic career depend upon the type of digital evidence needed. The job description of a computer forensic investigator will vary depending on the location of the computer where the evidence is needed.
Computer forensics experts to collect information about a case by investigating computer systems. They can search a computer using its hard drive, take pictures of it, extract information using a computer, or access emails and files on the system. Forensics experts can recover deleted data as well as recover lost email and other data. These professionals also can analyze computer forensics evidence to determine the nature of the case and help create a successful legal case. It is the key to investigating a case accurately.
In order to become an effective investigator in the field of digital forensics, a background in computer science is necessary. A bachelor’s degree in computer science and a related field such as engineering, math, or biology are recommended. It is also helpful to have strong interpersonal skills. Most employers look for candidates with people skills and a desire to serve the public.
Another type of work for which computer forensics professionals can find employment is in the criminal justice and police department. Many state and local law enforcement agencies require investigation skills for all patrol units, drug units, gang units, and detective units. There are many federal government agencies and private sector jobs available for professional investigation of corporate crimes, Espionage, computer fraud, financial crimes, terrorism, and civil rights violations. Often, federal and state agencies will use outside computer forensics specialists to conduct sensitive investigations.
New Zealand is one country in which computer forensics professionals can often work in a variety of different fields. For example, cybercrime is a growing crime that has reached epidemic proportions in many countries around the world. In New Zealand, cybercrime is defined as any crime caused by the use of computer technology that results in damage or loss to a business, government agency or other entity. This includes everything from hacking, security cracking, fraud and identity theft.
There are several government and private industry sectors that are looking for cyber criminals and investigators. Law enforcement is a large employer of computer forensics specialists. Private sector employment options include corporate security and information technology. Many private businesses are now starting to hire outside investigators and forensics experts to review new software and systems that they create, develop, or purchase. In New Zealand, there are several major corporations that are looking for outside assistance to monitor the development and implementation of their new programs.
Computer forensics professionals can use the information that is extracted from an investigation to help an insurance company to prove liability for a case. They can also make use of this same information during a court trial to help with proving that a defendant’s actions were not intentional. These professionals may also find evidence of deleted files that could possibly uncover emails and other communications that were never meant to be sent over the internet. Many times, a person simply erases a file, but it can be hiding in the recycle bin and then reappears later as an unsearchable file on the computer.
Computer forensics professionals are often integral to obtaining criminal evidence against a suspected criminal. The entire process is known as digital forensics, which means that the investigation is conducted using specialized equipment that looks like a computer, rather than a hand held device. As such, there is no way for a user to determine whether or not the file or system is clean. The entire file or potentially valuable information can be compromised if a person is not careful when erasing or deleting documents.