From corporate crimes to murder, computer place a role in nefarious activities either as a target, medium or containing evidence and thus, requiring specialist with a skill in the various technologies and legal knowledge to gather evidence stored digitally. As high profile data breaches such as those that hit Sony, JP Morgan, Home Depot etc. continued to grab headlines, the demand for well trained for computer forensic expert is rising who can conduct the requisite investigation to ascertain the offender and cause of security incident and help to mitigate the damage. With the dynamically changing technologies, the computer forensic is also undergoing a rapid change and the main change is that the forensic is moving from the hard disk/static data analysis to different storage areas, from the cloud to browser based and points such as mobile phones.
It refers to the process of recovery of the evidence from the computer, laptop and connected devices. Recovery from the file system requires knowledge of various file systems, operating system and every application being used. For example, Firefox Explorer, Email Client etc. One needs to know where the application maintains the system files and other logs. Then, for every application you may require the different software for retrieval of data.
It normally refers to collecting digital evidence relating to movement of data in the online medium. It requires the knowledge of Networking concepts, hosting of website, website application, Network devices, OSI Models, TCP/IP, routing & other Network protocol. It is most relevant in today’s scenario as the first objective is to trace the origin of data to identify cyber offenders.
Now with the rapid use of the Mobile, Mobile technology has become one of the biggest challenges particularly as most of the software used by the Mobiles is proprietary in nature. One needs different hardware to access the various Mobiles and different software for making logical/physical extractions of the Mobile. For different mobiles, you may find different software, OS and Application which may be specific to the mobile. You may be required to have the knowledge of programming or you have to develop your own program to analyze the mobile system.
The cloud forensic is the biggest challenge because of its unique architecture which is spread over the network and may be in the different jurisdictions governed by the different laws and the procedures for the forensic examination.
Starting A Career
Becoming a Computer Forensic Expert seems to be much more difficult than ever envisioned and it is too much for a single individual to shallow initially. The best way is to start with a computer science degree. The young aspirants can start from the secondary education itself which help them to understand the very basic concept which later on, will become the foundation for learning the subsequent techniques, concepts and framework of computer forensic world.
Thereafter, the individual can have a degree in the computer science and in parallel, the individual can do the certifications in networking, acquiring skill in the hacking methodologies and the courses like CCNA, CEH etc. which would not only refine the skill but would also give an abstract view of movement of data and threats of the real world. Till last few years, there were virtually no undergraduate or postgraduate courses in computer forensics and due to expansion of digital forensic services in both the public and private sector, external training programs, technical certifications and degree programs are now common place.
After the graduation, the individual can go for the specialized courses to learn computer forensic, advanced network technologies, mobile technologies and for this purpose can go through various courses such as CFCE, CCFP, CHFI and other domain oriented courses. As for a single individual, it is not possible to acquire all these skills simultaneously, so the best course of action is to choose a particular segment such as computer forensic or network forensic and after acquiring expertise in one field and combining it with a available job opportunities into the forensic arena, the individual can move ahead slowly after consolidating the positions at each level with a blending mixture of theoretical and practical knowledge of the domain.
The computer forensic professional are referred to by many titles including Computer Forensic Investigator, Digital Media Analysts, Digital Forensic Expert and Digital Forensic Detectives. The forensic expertise are required not just by Law Enforcement Agencies but also in the corporate world by the Incident Response Team for investigation into hacking, data theft and other various offences becoming part of corporate espionage. The demand for skilled forensic experts will substantially grows with the increase in level of sophistication and frequency of cyber attacks. More and more companies are engaging full time forensic professional as part of their Permanent/Hybrid Incident Response Team as the breaches have become more common.
The computer forensic domain provides a dynamically changing profile with the exponential growth with handsome return as an employee, professional and provides vast avenues for entrepreneurship. It is a profession which is not restricted by any national boundaries and welcomed and accepted at every corner of the world. A good computer forensic professional is really a global person in the true realm of the world. The professional will find the community, investigation agencies, legal fraternity, judiciary looking to them to explain the hidden layers in order to explore the truth and aiding in delivery of justice. Further, the continued exponential growth of electronic devices and archival storage due to burst in ‘Big Data’ will soon lead to a crisis point for digital forensic analysis and investigation and as such, the growth of the profession will outweigh any other profession in the world.
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