Computer forensics is a rapidly growing branch of criminal justice pertaining to digital evidence found on computers and other digital storage media. There are literally thousands of computer-related cases across the country each year with an estimated value of over $80 billion dollars generated annually. This article will give you a brief overview of what this exciting career field is all about. I hope it helps!
So what exactly is digital evidence? Digital evidence can be described as any information which is stored on a computer and/or hard drive that has been processed, recorded, or is being transferred. In other words, it is any data which can be used as evidence in court. Typically this data is stored in some kind of database and is sent via email, fax, or by regular mail. In most cases, this information is stored on a laptop or computer which is then “attached” to the police officer by means of a USB cable.
In order to become a computer forensics investigator, one must undergo a number of steps, including: A Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or equivalent to obtain employment in a lab. After obtaining employment, the individual must go through extensive training to prepare them for their role as a computer forensics investigator. The training involves both classroom and hands-on instruction from instructors at an accredited computer school or university. Some schools and universities offer courses in forensic computer analysis, data recovery, virus removal, and other related topics. These programs are designed to give students a solid background in mathematics, computer science, and related subjects.
Many private investigators choose to become involved in the field by participating in computer forensics certification or continuing education programs offered through state universities and colleges. Often, these programs will provide the necessary skills to perform on-the-job duties in a typical office environment. However, there are also online programs which may be more easily accessible and cost-effective. Classes taught in schools and online institutions usually last between two and four weeks, although there are some state-approved courses that may be completed in less than two months.
Every investigator must have a notebook in which to store all of their digital evidence. Most investigators use this computer forensics tool as a safe place to store all of their findings, so that they can easily be identified and accessed as needed. The notebook is often referred to as a backup drive, as it makes it easy to recover any digital data that has been accidentally deleted. In fact, some investigators prefer to write down all of the findings while working, so that they can easily retrieve it on a later date.
Part of becoming a computer forensic professional involves developing the proper reporting guidelines for their agency. Each state sets its own rules and regulations regarding computer forensics, which means that the investigator must follow them closely. All evidence investigations must be reported in detail, which is why it is so important to be as accurate as possible. If any information is accidentally omitted or altered, it will be extremely detrimental to an investigation. An investigator who omits crucial information or knows that he has omitted it but was not able to find it at the time of his investigation could potentially jeopardize all of the hard work that his team has done.
There are three main bodies in the United States that regulate private computer forensics investigations in the nation. They are the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Security Agency. The work that these government agencies do is primarily focused on cyber crimes, including identity theft, computer fraud, intellectual property theft, financial crimes, sabotage of computer systems, and spyware. In order to become a forensic computer analyst, a person must work for one of the government agencies for at least five years.
To become a computer forensics investigator, you should be willing to learn as much as you can about digital forensics techniques. You should also be willing to learn as much as you can about computers, the internet, and how everything works. By taking classes in college, you will be able to gain a solid foundation of knowledge that will prepare you for your career. There are many colleges and universities that offer digital forensics certification programs. Many schools also have internship programs that allow students to get real-world experience while they are studying. By taking advantage of these programs, you will be prepared for a career that will put you in control of many different aspects of an investigation.