Forensic Cyber Security – Before We Get Into The Topic, Let’s Learn Some Basic Of This Topic
On cybersecurity and investigative teams, computer forensics experts play an important role. These experts are experts at obtaining and evaluating information about cyberattacks and unlawful Internet activities. In situations involving espionage, organized cybercrime, hacking, fraud, terrorism, and the storage and dissemination of illicit materials, they use extensive data retrieval and incident analysis skills.
Successful analysts are analytical thinkers with keen eyes for detail and sophisticated technological skills. They also have a strong grasp of the legal norms that govern criminal investigations and are excellent communicators. While some digital forensics analysts work for commercial organizations, law enforcement accounts for the majority of their job prospects.
This group of experts has an especially brightwork outlook. Between 2018 and 2028, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 32 per cent increase in information security positions.
This resource includes vital skills, significant companies, and answers to frequently asked questions for anybody contemplating a career as a computer forensics analyst.
What Does a Computer Forensics Analyst Do?
Analysts that work in computer forensics assist in the investigation of crimes and cyber-attacks. They work to recover information that has been buried, encrypted, or erased in many circumstances. They also secure the data’s integrity by following a chain of custody that guarantees its admission in court.
Additional and related responsibilities include providing expert advice to law enforcement officers and prosecutors on the legitimacy of their digital evidence. They may conduct or participate in interviews with suspects or victims. Experts in digital forensics also assist in the preparation of evidence for criminal trials.
Experts in computer forensics are frequently found in the criminal justice system. They work in a variety of private industries, including financial services, information technology, computing, network security, and defense. In the case of a hack or cybercrime, privately hired digital forensics experts can help bolster an organization’s internal cybersecurity team and give an extra layer of protection.
Many computer forensics analysts go on to train new professionals and younger team members as their careers advance. However, getting to this stage has its own set of difficulties. Because many digital forensics professionals work long and odd hours, especially while examining live cases, the field requires dedication and flexibility.
The lists below explain the main soft and hard skills that aspiring digital forensics analysts will require to succeed.
A Day in the Life of a Computer Forensics Analyst
Industry, function, and particular cases all influence what a computer forensics analyst does daily. An analyst may focus on just one case at a time, or numerous cases may be investigated at the same time.
Computer forensics experts must be prepared for unexpected developments and obstacles that can arise at any time during the investigation. New information gained from other colleagues or team members might drastically alter the character of a case, and situations needing fast action can strike at any time.
Monday mornings are the one constant in the lives of many digital forensics analysts. Typically, workweeks begin with team meetings to discuss progress and updates on ongoing investigations.
A computer forensics expert’s job entails a wide range of responsibilities. Five major instances are presented in the next section.
Computer Forensics Analyst Main Responsibilities
Securing Devices and/or Systems Analysts are on the front lines of ensuring tamper-proof access to electronic devices, systems, and network equipment that may contain digital evidence in the course of an investigation.
Using Forensic Software That Is Specifically Forensic
Many forensic data searches are aided by specialized programs and software packages that enhance professional analysts’ technical expertise.
Data Trails: Identifying and Following
Attempts to link suspects to co-conspirators and other external parties or accomplices are prevalent in investigations. Analysts are experts at tracking down the electronic crumbs that make up these data trails.
Writing Reports and Making Presentations
Analysts must document their results in written reports. They must also give verbal reports to other people who are participating in the investigation.
Developing New Skills
The top computer forensics investigators commit a large amount of time in workshops and continuing education programs to improve their technical capabilities.
Computer Forensics Analyst Salary
According to PayScale data from 2020, forensic computer experts earn around $73,900 per year on average. The bottom ten per cent of earners earn around $50,000 a year, while the top ten percent earn $118,000 or more.
Forensic Computer Analysts
These ranges reflect the many distinct elements that determine active professionals’ earnings. Some industries pay more than others, with the private sector often employing the highest incomes. Location is also important; in general, digital forensics investigators who work in larger cities earn more money.
Finally, incomes are influenced by criteria such as education, experience, technical skill, seniority, and job function. Senior analysts and analysts with advanced degrees make the most money in general. The graph below shows typical earnings by level of experience.
Where Can I Work as a Computer Forensics Analyst?
Computer forensics professionals continue to be in high demand from law enforcement organizations, but the private sector is increasingly hiring them in increasing numbers. As the demand for talented analysts grows, competent individuals have more job opportunities.
Companies with advanced data protection and cybersecurity demands are among the most important private-sector employers. Financial services, defense, and aerospace, as well as health informatics and the technology and IT sectors, may all have openings for computer forensics experts.
A digital forensics analyst’s location might have a big impact on his or her career. Computer forensics professionals’ job chances are typically concentrated in major urban areas and government capitals. Salaries in larger cities are also on the rise, although raw numbers only tell part of the story when it comes to earnings.
In addition to criteria such as cost of living and quality of life, aspiring computer forensics experts should think about their lifestyle needs and preferences. For example, the lower-income normally offered in such places can be countered by the lower cost of living in a smaller city or more remote state. Keeping up with the cost of living indices can assist those with mobility in responding to job offers in various locations.
Consider the information in the table below, which shows various regions where computer forensics specialists earn more than the national average.
2020’s Highest-Paying Cities for Forensic Computer Analysts
- PERCENTAGE ABOVE AVERAGE PAY IN TOP-PAYING CITIES
- Washington, DC has a 31% share of the market.
- Arlington, Virginia has an 8% unemployment rate.
- Boston has an 8% unemployment rate.
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PA) 4%
- PayScale is the source of this information.
Law enforcement, intelligence, and domestic security agencies are among the most common employers of digital forensics experts. Investigators in these public-sector settings generally spend the majority of their time investigating cases involving criminal elements. Their work is frequently used as evidence in courtrooms.
While these roles are also performed in the private sector, the day-to-day responsibilities of analysts in different businesses might be quite different. In IT, for example, computer forensics experts are frequently members of cybersecurity incident response teams. Their responsibilities include evaluating successful and attempted breaches to find and fix the vulnerability that allowed unauthorized access to the system.
Analysts assist dissuade and neutralize threats posed by insiders in other private settings, such as financial services, defense, and other industries involving proprietary or sensitive information. Employee misbehavior is one of the most serious hazards to such businesses, and computer forensics experts are crucial in preventing and investigating it.
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation is in charge of investigating crimes (FBI)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is federal law enforcement, homeland security, and intelligence agency. It is a key player in the investigation and prosecution of serious federal offenses.
- Booz Allen Hamilton is a consulting firm based in the United States.
Booz Allen Hamilton, based in the McLean, Virginia neighborhood of Washington, D.C., is one of the country’s largest and best-known information technology and management consultancies. The company also has about 80 other offices in the United States and around the world.
- ManTech International Corporation is a private corporation based in the United States
This major defense contractor in the United States collaborates with both public and commercial partners. It employs over 9,000 people and focuses on meeting the demands of clients who require superior information security and integrated technologies.
How to Become a Computer Forensics Analyst?
The majority of persons who work in this industry have a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Computer science and computer engineering, as well as specialist cybersecurity degrees that offer concentrated study pathways in digital forensics, are all applicable majors.
Professional qualifications are also beneficial to computer forensics analysts. While these certifications are theoretically optional for many occupations, in today’s highly competitive job market, candidates with at least one recognized sector certification have a significantly better chance of securing a job.
To stay current and capable of responding to any incident or threat, computer forensics specialists must constantly develop, enhance, refresh, and update their capabilities.
Steps to Becoming a Computer Forensics Analyst
Acquire a working knowledge of digital technology, such as computer operating systems and programming. Develop a mathematical and scientific foundation.
Enroll in computer science or computer engineering bachelor’s degree program. Depending on their availability, qualified applicants might also seek specialized undergraduate cybersecurity programs.
To gain a competitive edge in the employment market, consider pursuing a specialized master’s degree in cybersecurity or digital forensics. To strengthen your résumé, consider adding optional specialist computer forensics qualifications.
Choose a possible practice area, either directly or by limiting your options to public and private sectors. Apply for job openings that match your qualifications and preferred career path parameters.
Computer Forensics Analyst Requirements
The parts below go through the prerequisites for a computer forensics analyst. Use these as a starting point for planning your desired career path, but keep in mind that certain jobs may require additional certifications.