Privileges of Working in Computer Forensics

Have you ever got a dream to work for FBI? Almost 50% of FBI jobs require computer forensics applications. If you are a digital forensics expert, your chance to get into FBI is high. Apart from working in this special organization, there are many strong reasons to support that computer forensics expert is indeed an ideal career option in today’s fast changing world.

Being a digital forensics expert, you always feel great because you are given an important mission to find out cyber criminals. In fact, you are carrying an important social responsibility in helping the nation to find out IT fraud and reduce IT crimes.

The high rate of fraud, abuse and downright criminal activity on IT systems by hackers, contractors and even employees has created countless job opportunities in computer forensics field. Working as a digital forensics expert can be a life long career that provides a stable lifestyle and satisfactory income. The higher qualification you have, the more income you can generate. In United States, the salary range of a computer forensics expert is from USD 100,000 to USD 150,000 annually. Isn’t it lucrative?

Being an expert in this niche market, you are always “mobile”. This is because the certification you obtain from digital forensics field is recognized internationally. You have the privilege to work in any country you like. You are secured to get a job in anywhere as cyber crimes happen everywhere around the world.

The ongoing trend of computer crimes, such as identity theft and cyber terrorism has made this profession more and more challenging. You would definitely be exciting when you get involved in this unique field. Dealing with tones of data and many different people from different industries is your daily task. You would never feel bored and yet you are always exposed to the latest high tech computer forensics tools. To sum up, it is truly an ideal career option.

Computer Forensics Degree – Requirements and Curriculum

As data security and confidentiality become an increasingly important element of corporate and government communications, the demand for computer forensic scientists is rapidly increasing. In order to enter the field, you should strongly consider enrolling in a program that allows you to earn a bachelor or master computer forensics degree.

Careers in digital forensics requires a broad set of skills to allow you to analyze computer data and security, including network technologies and traffic. Computer forensics degrees allow you to develop a wide range of knowledge in computer science, criminal justice and engineering, all of which is important for a future career in forensics. In particularly, you will develop skills to understand file formats, networking protocols, cryptology, software engineering and data analysis.

Computer forensic degrees are often available as associates or bachelors degrees, as well as through professional, specialist degree training. A number of well known universities such as California State offer degree programs focused on digital forensics. These degrees are structured to enable you to earn become a Certified Information System Security Professional, the highest level of certification for forensics professionals. In addition to in-person training, a number of schools offer online distance training in forensics, including ITT Technical Institute.

Courses within a computer forensics degree generally focus on the technology and legal aspects of the career, requiring the development of a broad base of knowledge. Students are required to gain expertise in the criminal justice and law enforcement system, as well as a core set of skills in both computer science with a focus on hardware and computer security.

At leading universities course offerings include Forensics and Crime Scene Investigation, Cyber Crime Analysis, Police Investigation Techniques, Essentials of Computer Security, Computer Forensic Analysis and Cryptology and Computer Security. Each of these courses builds upon a foundation in criminal justice and computer science. As one of the fastest growing professions, the requirements for computer forensics training require a working knowledge of a range of technology from networking equipment to wireless protocols.

Importantly, leading computer forensics schools will provide you with an opportunity to gain hands on work experience through internships and work study opportunities within the field. Both private companies as well as government agencies are actively recruiting computer forensics experts to aid in investigations, so demand remains high for new entrants into the field. By earning a well qualified computer forensics degree, you can put yourself in a good position to become a working professional upon graduation. Louis Zhang, Accrcomputerforensics dot com

Computer Forensics – Criminal vs Civil – What’s The Difference?

In the field of computer forensics, as in the field of law, procedures in civil cases differ somewhat from those in criminal cases. The collection of data and presentation of evidence may be held to different standards, the process of data collection and imaging can be quite different, and the consequences of the case may have very different impacts.

A couple of quick definitions may be in order. Criminal law deals with offenses against the state – the prosecution of a person accused of breaking a law. Such offenses may of course include crimes against a person. A government body, or the representative of a government body accuses the person of having committed the offense, and the resources of the state are brought to bear against the accused. Guilty outcomes can result in fines, probation, incarceration, or even death.

Civil law covers everything else, such as violations of contracts and lawsuits between two or more parties. The loser in such a dispute often must give payment, property or services to the prevailing party. Imprisonment is not at issue in civil cases. As a result, the standard for evidence is not as high in civil cases as in criminal cases.

For the law enforcement computer forensics specialist, a certain amount of extra care should be taken in collecting data and producing results, for the standard of proof is higher. There are advantages on the data collection end, however. For once a court has authorized a search warrant, an officer (and possibly several) with badge and gun can go seize the defendant’s computer by surprise and by force. Once the computer has been seized and imaged, all data is accessible and may result in additional charges being brought against the defendant.

By contrast, in a civil case, there tends to be a lot of negotiation over what computers and what data can be inspected, as well as where and when. There is not likely to be any seizing of computers, and quite a long time may take place between the time the request to inspect a computer is made and the time the computer is made available to be inspected. It is common for one party to have access to a very limited area of data from the other party’s computer. During this time, a defendant may take the opportunity to attempt to hide or destroy data. The author has had several cases wherein the computer needed for analysis was destroyed before the plaintiff had the opportunity to inspect. Such attempts at hiding data are often discovered by the digital forensic sleuth, who may in turn present evidence of such further wrongdoing in expert witness testimony.

Opportunities for learning techniques and interacting with other professionals may differ as well. While some computer forensic software suites and training, such as Access FTK, EnCase, or SMART Forensics are available to most who can pay, others, such as iLook are available only to law enforcement and military personnel. While many support and professional organizations and groups are available to all, some, such as the High Technology Crime Investigation Association (HTCIA) are not open to professionals who provide for criminal defense (with a few minor exceptions).

When law enforcement has a case involving computer forensics, the intention is to locate enough data to find the defendant guilty in court, where the standard for information presented tends to be fairly high. From the time digital data or hardware is seized and acquired, Rules of Evidence must be kept in mind (Cornell University has the complete and voluminous code on its website). Law enforcement personnel must follow accepted procedures or evidence could be thrown out. Acquisition of data and discovery in criminal cases often must follow sometimes strict and differing procedures depending upon whether the jurisdiction is federal, state, or municipality and at times depending upon a judge’s preferences.

In a civil case, the initial processes of electronic discovery may be just to find enough data to show one or the other party whether they are likely to prevail, should the case go all the way to court. As such, the initial presentation of data may be fairly informal, and be just enough to induce the parties to settle the case. On the other hand, the data found may be so minimal the line of inquiry into electronic evidence is dropped.

Although we use many of the same tools, computer forensic professionals in private practice and those in law enforcement are held to different standards, have access to different resources, and their work results in substantially different outcomes between the criminal and civil cases to which they contribute.