Digital forensic plays a critical role in cybersecurity. Due to its recent application and origin, digital forensics investigation has not been accepted by many judicial systems. Notwithstanding, every organization needs to make digital forensics a component of its cybersecurity solutions based on the rising level of cyberattacks.
Likewise, digital forensics and other related areas of information security are expected to grow speedily in the next decade. This will be accompanied by significant job openings for those seeking to enter any of its related fields.
Computer Hacking Forensic Investigation (CHFI) credentials are essential to maintain the high integrity of digital forensics investigations. CHFI certifications also reinforce the relevant knowledge regarding legal professionals, law enforcement agencies, security professionals, system administrators, and others who are concerned with the integrity of a network infrastructure.
Is Digital Forensics a Good Career?
Digital forensics, computer forensics, or cyber forensics, is a sub-field of forensic science concerned with the treatment of technical investigatory procedures to digital attacks and crimes. Digital forensics is a good career choice for network administrators, IT security experts, cybersecurity professionals, and other computer security teams who want to understand the issues related to digital forensics.
This career path is also significant for managers who want to comprehend how digital forensics functions as a strategic component in ensuring general organizational computer security. People who work in IT departments, legal departments, and corporate governance, would likewise find digital forensics in a corporate context extremely valuable.
Other aspects of digital forensics, such as computer hacking forensic investigation are also useful due to the rising computer crimes in the current digital world. CHFI involves identifying hacking activities, appropriately obtaining evidence to report the offense, and performing audits to mitigate further attacks.
CHFI professionals can apply a variety of techniques to identify the type of data that exists in a computer system, and retrieve encrypted, deleted, or damaged file information through a process called “computer data recovery”.
What Do You do in Digital Forensics?
As obtainable with other aspects of forensics, digital forensics is typically a fragment of a broader investigation process that spans across a number of disciplines. Digital forensics can be applied to both criminal and private investigations. Sometimes, the evidence gathered is applied as a kind of intelligence assemblage, utilized for other functions other than court prosecutions. For instance, the gathered evidence can be used to trace, identify, and mitigate other computer-related crimes.
Digital forensics is used in the business environment to the ‘who, what, where, and when,’ of incidents to determine how to respond to the intrusion and how to go about prosecuting the culprit behind the attack. The forensic computer analyst uses anti-forensic tools to locate where the network was traversed, what the intruder did on the network (that is, whether they planted a malware or stole sensitive information), and how the intruder gained access to the computer system or network.
Forensics computer analysts use a number of sophisticated tools during CHFI processes based on the type of cyberattack they are facing. They obtain data such as photos, documents, and messages from the intruder’s cell phone, email, zip and flash drives, CDs, and other storage devices.
Furthermore, the cybersecurity investigator uses what is known as digital footprinting to obtain valuable data for the investigation. A digital footprint refers to the critical information about an individual, which resided on systems including, the device they were using, the websites they traversed, and the time they were active.
Several cases have been solved using digital forensics including the Michelle There case in 2000, Krenar Lusha case in 2009, Matt Baker case in 2010, FBI-Apple encryption dispute in 2015 and 2016, and several other digital forensics cases.
Why Is Digital Forensics Important?
The importance of digital forensics cannot be overemphasized. Some of the major importance of digital forensics include:
1. Gathers Vital Information
Digital forensics is significant to both corporate and government organizations for identical reasons – information. Regardless of whether the information is the data of an insider is pilfering business intellectual property for a rival, or evidence for a federal criminal case, digital forensics professionals offer data that the clienteles may not have access to.
For instance, if you learn computer forensics, you will understand the technical and legal parts of computer forensics which will assist you in capturing critical information, particularly when you experience a network intrusion. The information gathered will help you sue the intruder when they are captured.
2. Saves Money
Another importance of digital forensics is its capacity to save your corporation lots of money. A number of administrators apportion a large percentage of their information technology resources to network and computer security. According to a survey, the global market for intrusion detection systems and intrusion prevention systems (IDS/IPS) was estimated to increase from 4.7 billion USD in 2019 to 7.1 billion USD in 2024 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.3 percent.
The driving factors for these snowballing figures include the shifting cybersecurity landscape, the increasing number of modern sophisticated cyberattacks, as well as the rising need for compliance with several future regulations. Consequently, organizations are installing network security gadgets including firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), proxies, and so on, all of which would re-count the security status of networks.
3. Contributes to Safety and Security
Having a sound digital forensics knowledge helps you guarantee the total survivability and reliability of your network infrastructure. Cybersecurity investigators can contribute to the security and safety of consumers without the constraint of physical restrictions such as age or eyesight. You may not be the investigator going after the intruder on the streets, but you can provide the data from their hard drive, cell phones, and other sources to nail down the culprit.
4. Preservation of Legal Evidence
Certified fraud investigators are adept at identifying, collecting, preserving, analyzing, and documenting forensics evidence in such a manner that, the validity of the evidence collected is preserved and admissible in the courts of law. If forensics evidence is ignored or badly handled, you stand at a risk of compromising critical evidence and destroying your chances of prosecuting the intruder since the evidence will be rendered invalid in a legal court.
Without a sound digital forensics professional, your organization may unintentionally flout regulatory compliance and policies. This may lead to liability and other legal charges if certain kinds of data are not effectively safeguarded. Currently, some policies and laws make it possible for organizations to be held accountable in criminal or civil courts, if and when they fail to secure their clients’ data.
How Do I Start a Career in Digital Forensics?
1. Obtain a Degree
To become a digital forensic professional, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree in forensics, computer forensics, criminal justice, or other related fields. A number of higher institutions offer computer forensics certification courses and programs, and a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree program in computer forensics.
2. Become Certified
Other vendors offer digital forensics certification programs along with computer forensics training. This will help you hone and develop some of the required skills for this role. You’ll also gain real-world knowledge about digital forensics and become specialized in the niche you want to major in.
What Can You Do with a Digital Forensics Certificate?
With a certification in digital forensics, you can work as an expert in companies that are concerned with information security, or susceptible to the system or network breaches. Most of these jobs fall under law enforcement agencies. However, you can still get a job in private organizations, large metropolises, or crime laboratories.
Your job responsibility will depend on the type of organization and your job description. Virtually all these positions involve working with extremely sensitive information. As such, in-depth knowledge of information security is required and competence to conduct a detailed circumstantial check is necessary. Other digital forensics job descriptions may include the following:
- Forensic Computer Analyst
- Computer Forensics Investigator
- Digital Forensics Professional
- Forensic Computer Examiner
- Security Consultant
- Information Systems Security Analyst
- Computer Forensics Technician
- Digital Forensics Specialist
- Cyber Forensics Specialist
3. Get the Necessary Skills
Most employees look for competent digital forensic professionals who are also certified. Some of the core skills required for this job profile include:
- Analytical and problem-solving skills
- Ability to effectively communicate both written and virtual digital information
- Technical skills and knowledge
- Knowledge about hard disks and file systems
- Ability to defeat anti-forensics techniques
- Understanding of mobile device forensics, computer operating systems, and malware types
- Ability to learn, relearn, and unlearn
- Comprehensive knowledge about ethical and legal issues regarding data
How to Become a Certified Computer Forensics Investigator
EC-Council is a globally recognized certification and training company that specializes in the fields of digital forensics, ethical hacking or anti-hacking, and penetration testing. The CHFI certification program aims to authenticate the candidate’s competences and abilities to pinpoint a perpetrator’s footprints and to accurately assemble all the relevant evidence needed to take legal actions against the intruder. Moreover, EC-Council’s CHFI program is a vendor-neutral certification that endorses individuals in the particular security field of computer forensics. Visit our course page for more information on our CHFI course.
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