A Closer Look at Computer Forensics
Computer forensics is basically a branch of criminal justice pertaining to digital evidence located in computers and other digital storage media. This evidence can be classified as computer-related, usually from the affected computer (or computers) as well as any electronic devices used in the commission of the crime. The term “forensics” was coined in 1982 by Richard Ledger of the United States Department of State. The FBI has since then taken over Ledger’s role, while the government of New York continues to fund the forensic research organization. There are numerous benefits for obtaining a PhD in Computer Forensics, which will hopefully be explained below.
A lot of individuals have the incorrect notion that computer forensics is merely a way of looking for passwords or other security breaches. Such an attitude is highly incorrect, considering how many benefits there truly are when studying this science. The first benefit of Computer forensics is in identifying any potential crimes that may have been committed using digital means. It is through analysis of data that professionals are able to determine if a break-in occurred or not.
Another benefit of a PhD in Computer forensics, which is very similar to that of an Information Security Crime Investigator, is in obtaining evidence in the form of computer files that were wiped off of a hard drive or any other medium. Experts in the field of computer forensics may be able to restore such data through recoverable methods. Forensic scientists use a number of methods in order to achieve this goal, which include performing a manual data recovery, data extraction, reading from random pages, writing to the target drive, or even inserting a USB drive into the computer to recover deleted files. One major benefit from getting an information security crime investigator trained on forensics is in dealing with law enforcement officials. The assistance of law enforcement officials could certainly prove useful in the event of an investigation.
There are actually several different job titles associated with a career in computer forensics. Each job title relates to the specific method of investigation that a professional is qualified to perform. Each of these positions may require additional training and education in order to perform the job duties to a satisfactory level. Computer crime specialists, cyber criminals, and breach analysts are some of the more common titles that people may encounter.
Computer forensics experts are generally employed by law enforcement agencies. This is because of the extreme importance of being able to determine the manner in which a computer system was breached. In the case of a law enforcement agency, computer forensics professionals can help determine if a computer system has been compromised or not. In the case of a private sector firm or corporation, the forensics professional is responsible for helping to determine the manner in which a computer was breached in order to prevent any further damage from occurring. These professionals may also be involved in the remediation of any damaged files that may be related to the hacking of the system.
Another term relating to computer forensics is digital forensics. This is a field that studies the digital information in order to help investigators determine the manner in which a breach occurred. Computer forensics specialists can also be involved in analyzing data from a hard drive in order to find evidence of a crime. Digital forensics professionals are usually required to have previous experience in the field of computer forensics in order to become certified. Sometimes these professionals are required to have other degrees such as a masters degree in order to get a position in this field. It is also possible for a person to be employed in the government or the private sector in this field as well.
A computer forensics investigator will often work in conjunction with a computer forensics analyst. The roles of an investigator and an analyst are often similar yet slightly different. The primary difference is that the investigator collects digital data in a methodical and detailed manner. Whereas the analyst will gather the data in an ad hoc and more spontaneous manner. A professional in this field will often specialize his or her work in certain areas.
Computer forensics is one of the most interesting fields of criminal justice because it tackles legal issues surrounding computers. Legal issues that face individuals today due to the prevalence of digital devices in the workplace include password cracking, identity theft, password bypassing, credit card fraud, security breaches, and unauthorized computer system access. Computer forensics can bring a bright light to these legal issues and can help to solve some of these troubling problems. This is just another reason why this career field has become so popular over the years.