Computer forensics is a rapidly expanding field, as more computer data is being stored in databases. This information is often used for legal proceedings, but can be used for a number of reasons such as performing error-checks on company emails, assessing a workstation’s security level, detecting network attacks, tracking down computer criminals, etc. Computer forensics professionals are required today in every industry, from financial industries to the military, from law enforcement to the private sector, and in every sector that uses computers.
These investigators are often referred to as “cyber investigators” or “cyber-cops.” In other words, these professionals serve as cyber investigators or digital detectives, gathering and analyzing evidence that will help prosecutors successfully prosecute criminals and protect the public from Internet crimes. The primary goal of a computer forensic professional is to gather evidence of criminal activity by hacking into a computer system. They may also utilize search and recovery (SAR) methods, search and video (SV) methods, and other tools.
The goal of any investigation is to expose the criminal act or fraud, not to establish the innocence or guilt of the accused. Computer forensics experts use their technical skills to analyze digital evidence such as deleted files, hidden files, e-mail trails, online activity, trace IP addresses, and any other method that they are trained in using. After the evidence has been analyzed, computer forensics experts will often present their findings in court, making important decisions about what to do with the evidence and determining how much compensation should be paid to the victims or their heirs. In some cases, the forensic process may also determine whether a particular suspect should be arrested and prosecuted.
A computer forensics investigator must be highly skilled at navigating the world of information technology. These experts are required to work closely with both computer hackers and programmers, and must be skilled at identifying and documenting any potential evidence of crimes such as identity theft, piracy, fraud, pedophilia, and murder. Forensics investigators find it challenging to investigate crimes involving computers because much of the evidence is hidden or is difficult to access due to technological barriers.
For these reasons, computer forensics examiners must possess an exceptional level of computer and network security. The primary goal of any forensic investigation is to gather solid evidence from which to draw firm conclusions and to build effective cases from the evidence. As such, security is critical to the success of any investigation. It is also critical that the investigator has appropriate networking skills, software tools, and a good understanding of the Internet. A forensic analyst must be prepared to follow a wide range of leads and to work closely with law enforcement agencies in the event that federal or state laws require cooperation.
There are many career options available to those who complete a four-year degree in computer forensics. Most law enforcement agencies hire internal computer forensics specialists who will then go through specialized training to qualify for government employment. Private corporations and private individual investigators can also serve as private investigators. There are also numerous colleges and universities that offer online degrees in digital forensics. Cyber forensics certificate programs are popular as they can be completed in the student’s own time and at his or her own pace. A large number of these programs are available through FBI accredited programs.
On the other hand, the FBI and many other federal investigative agencies contract with private investigators to conduct cyber investigations. In the private sector, there are many job opportunities for computer forensic specialists. Forensics employers will readily hire an experienced and highly skilled computer forensic specialist who has a strong background in information technology and a high standard of personal hygiene.
One of the most popular fields in the field is computer forensics or criminal investigations. This is because crimes occur and are investigated using a computer. Crime labs utilize this same method of investigating crime by using computers to collect evidence. A crime lab might also be called on to determine if a crime has been committed using a computer. Another way that computer forensics professionals may be employed is in corporate security departments where employees use company owned computers for personal use.