What is Computer Forensics
What Computer Forensics Analysts Do
A Computer Forensics Investigator has another name. They are also known as Forensic Analysts.
In both cases, professional training is vital. And, is one of the goals of a computer forensic degree.
As the jobs titles suggest, these pros are like detectives. But their crime scenes are computers. Or any other device that stores data.
Computer Forensic Analyst Tasks
They do this work during a criminal investigation. For instance, when hackers and viruses corrupt a system.
Once they start to look into a crime, Analysts follows specific steps. These steps help them to recover data. Also, examine it.
In some cases though, Analysts have to deal with damaged equipment. So, they must know how to dismantle it. And rebuild systems too.
To do this work, computer forensics experts need to know computers. From hard drives and networking. To data encryption.
After they collect all the evidence, other protocols follow. The first one is usually to write up a technical report.
It details their findings. And also, shows all the steps taken during the retrieval process.
Another protocol is to testify in court. Doing so, they often help law enforcement prosecute the criminal.
Computer Forensics vs. Cyber / Digital Forensics
What’s the Difference Between Cyber Security and Computer Forensics?
- Identify the hack
- Understand the source
- Recover compromised data
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Types of Computer Forensic Degrees
Bachelors in Computer Forensics
To give you an example, let’s take a closer look at a bachelor’s program. The BS in Computer Forensics and Digital Investigations.
- Identify, retrieve, examine, and present digital evidence
- Asses & apply new laws to digital forensics
- Apply computer skills
- Know the ethics of investigating a cyber crime
- Use effective digital forensic methods
- Spot the culture and methods used in white collar crime
- Test digital forensics tools and know what works
Master’s in Computer Forensics
If you want to advance an info sec career, you may need a master’s degree or MBA.
These programs often help you gain two sets of skills. Business and technical. So, may be perfect for someone who strives to climb the ladder.
Computer Forensic Course Curriculum
- Mobile device forensics, and malware
- Fraud and how to investigate it
- Psychology of cybercrime
- Incident response and timeline analysis
- Reverse engineering and malware
How Long Does It Take For a Cyber Forensics Degree?
A bachelor’s degree in computer forensics often takes a full time student four years. That said, many people earn their computer forensics degree online.
Online programs may fast track your pace. They do this if you take a very full course load. And, no breaks in between.
After your four year degree, you may want to earn your master’s. If so, most cyber security master’s programs take from 18 months to two years.
Top Schools for Computer Forensic Degrees
NCES lists 709 institutions with Computer Forensics Degree programs. From those schools, 264 degrees were awarded to students in 2016.
|School||2016 Degrees awarded||2018/19 Graduate Tuition|
|University of Maryland-University College||96||$12,000|
|Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania||39||$17,700 (out of state)|
|University of Baltimore||35||$18,256 (out of state)|
|Robert Morris University||29||$27,320|
|Farmingdale State College||28||$16,320 (out of state)|
|George Mason University||28||$29,486 (out of state)|
|CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice||19||$13,440 (out of state)|
|Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale||28||$17,488|
Computer Forensic Careers
|Career||entry-level education||Average Median Salary||Projected growth rate|
Computer and Cyber Forensic Certifications
Many computer forensics programs serve as study guides for extra certifications. These come from industry agencies. And usually involve an exam.
Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI)
The CHFI certification is for people with a background in computer hacking forensics. So it may help to validate your investigative skills.
Certified Forensic Examiner (GCFE)
A certified forensic examiner displays knowledge, skills and aptitude to run a standard incident investigation.
They usually do this for the legal and law enforcement industries. A such, the GCFE focus is on core skills and the uses on Windows computer systems.
Certified Computer Examiner (CCE)
The ISFCE offers the CCE. And, is a credential many need when working in government agencies.
One goal of the CCE credential is to certify forensic examiners. It shows they can provide a fair and neutral investigation. Also, it sets high standards for the profession.
Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE)
The CFCE Certification program proves the holder has expertise. And pertain to the core skills needed in the field of computer forensics.