Increase in Sophisticated Digital Crime & Rise in Security Concerns Shall Pace the CFM

The computer forensics market is expected to experience an upsurge on account of the increase in sophisticated digital crime and terrorist attack and economic growth in developing countries. Computer forensics which refers to analysis and reporting of digital data for a legal purpose is the most prominent market within the overall digital forensic market. Computer forensics have become much dynamic in the field of cyber-crime, to perform a structured investigation, in order to detect hidden facts for accurate investigation results. A variety of techniques are used by investigators to inspect and search hidden, encrypted or deleted files or folders.

Computer forensics have gained wide-popularity in developed regions such as North America and Europe owing to technological advancements and increased cyber-crime rates. While, rise in corporate fraud has increased the demand for computer forensics. The UK and other European countries such as Italy and Germany, have observed an increasing trend for computer forensics as the various industries in the region have become more aware about safety and security of their data. Consequently, manufacturers are exploring innovative products and services to strengthen their market presence and meet the growing demand.

Computer forensics have also gained popularity in developing countries such as India and China owing to the increased piracy threats and cyber-crimes, coupled with increased governments expenditure in digitalization of sectors such as banking, law enforcement, defense, and information technology, among others. Rise in disposable income and increase in the number of educated consumers have also supplemented the growth of the market in the region.

The recommendation of computer forensics as a necessity for proper investigation by government organizations, has rapidly increased their adoption rate in both developed and developing economies. For instance, in order to maintain integrity, the governments of different countries in regions such as China and Brazil among others have formed new regulations that are based on the access to data and penalty in the case of modification of data or wrong entry in data records.

To compete with established players, other manufacturers such as Paraben Corporation, Binary Intelligence, and Digital Detectives, among others plan to develop new computer forensic tools to gain consumer attraction and increase their market share. However, the major players in the market such as, Access Data Group Inc., Guidance Software, Inc., and LogRhythm Inc. have been utilizing economies of scale to meet the rising demand for computer forensic. The established brands have adopted product launch, partnerships, and business expansion as their growth strategy to strengthen their foothold in the market. For instance, in February 2015, Access Data Group Inc. announced the development of newly improved software version Summation 5.6, which provides case assessment, processing of comprehensive data, and management, final review and transcript management. The main aim of this product launch was to reveal the enhanced feature of this software among consumers, to gain popularity in the market. However, rising complexity of mobile devices and increased utilization of cloud based applications may hamper the growth of digital forensics market.

Geographically, North America has emerged as the largest market for digital forensics. Increase in cyber-crime rates and technological advancement make this region favorable for growth in the forecast period. However, Asia-Pacific is projected to have the maximum growth rate in the digital forensics market driven by increase in cyber-crimes and rise in consumer awareness in developing countries such as China and India.

Job Opportunities in Forensic Science

Forensic science is not new; in fact, it was used as far back as the 18th century. It just wasn’t as well-known as it is in contemporary day. With the discovery of DNA and the power it has in proving or disproving theories of crime, along with popular television shows inundating our televisions, forensics has now become mainstream. With so many new advances in the way blood is collected and analyzed, the many purposes of DNA testing and even the way fingerprints are evaluated; it’s a lucrative career choice for many.

Forensic science brings together the scientific, medical and justice systems. It’s an exciting career opportunity and it could even be said forensics is by far the most important witness in any court trial. It’s that scientific evidence that is always concrete and never circumstantial a forensic scientist brings to the table. Often, it determines guilt or innocence.

So what does a forensic scientist look like? There are a few suggestions for those interested and intrigued by this important facet of science:

  1. In terms of education, one needs at a minimum a bachelor’s in science along with studies in forensic sciences, chemistry, biology, English composition, etc.
  2. Commitment to continuing education courses.
  3. A sense of ethics and ability to remain unbiased.
  4. The ability to write well – this is important since many reports are compiled for use by lawyers and other aspects of the judicial system.
  5. The ability to speak confidently since many forensics experts are called upon to testify in court proceedings.

Of course, this list is by no means all-inclusive; it is, however, a good place to start. While the salaries will vary greatly depending on one’s education level, the job itself and the level of experience, there are unlimited opportunities for career advancement; therefore, salary advancements will increase too. The environment a forensic scientist works in includes laboratories, offices, medical examiner’s offices, hospitals, toxicology labs and any other settings where evidence is collected, stored and/or analyzed. Many forensic experts work for the federal government or sometimes, even state or local governments.

Finally, with the advances made in digital and multimedia sciences, many forensics personnel are delving into this new specialty. It makes sense because photographs and other imaging is used to document crime scenes, autopsies and even mug shots taken at the time of arrest. These examiners work to ensure digital images collected as evidence from crime scenes have not been tampered with. For example, if a photograph is found that shows someone in a compromising position, the digital forensics team goes to work to ensure it’s accurate and has not been modified in a computer program. It’s not only still images, but video is often analyzed as well.

Quite a lot of job portals offer various job opportunities for those looking to find their niche in forensics. Law firms, government agencies, hospitals and many others often look for the right candidates to fill these positions.

The Science of Computer Forensics

Ever since their invention, personal computers and networked computers have found favour with the professionals and the layman alike. The usage has increased several fold over the years. Like any new invention, the misuses too have grown. In fact the misuses have grown really out of proportion. Cyber Crimes as these are called has really reached damaging levels. These include breaking into the bank accounts through internet banking or use of pilfered Debit cards, phishing, hacking of accounts, identity thefts and data thefts.

This new branch is a slowly evolving new field of study. The aim of this branch of computer science is to determine the modus operandi of the cyber thiefs and not only bring them to book, but to prevent such criminal acts in future, through proper softwares and of course legislations.

Forensic techniques and expert knowledge are largely used to explain how the device has been tampered with, such as a computer system, storage medium, electronic documents (e.g. email messages or JPEG image).The scope of a forensic analysis can vary from simple information retrieval to reconstructing a series of events. This branch has been defined as involving “the preservation, identification, extraction, documentation and interpretation of computer data”. Computer forensic methodology is backed by flexibility and extensive domain knowledge and is often the culmination of hardwork, intuitive observations and proven inferences.

Through appropriate legislation, in India, forensic evidence is subject to the usual requirements for digital evidence requiring information to be authentic, reliably obtained and admissible.

Computer forensic investigations usually follow the standard digital forensic process (acquisition, analysis and reporting).

A number of techniques are used during computer forensics investigations like cross-drive analysis, analysis of deleted files etc. The examination of computers from within the operating system using custom forensics or existing sysadmin tools to extract evidence. A common technique used in computer forensics is the recovery of deleted files.

Although it is most often associated with the investigation of a wide variety of computer crime, computer forensics may also be used in civil proceedings. The discipline involves similar techniques and principles to data recovery, but with additional guidelines and practices designed to create a legal audit trail.

Evidence from computer forensics investigations is usually subjected to the same guidelines and practices of other digital evidence. It has been used in a number of high profile cases and is becoming widely accepted as reliable within US,European and of late, Indian court systems.