What is computer forensics? It is a new branch of forensic science which is also called digital forensics and pertains to legal evidence found in computers or peripherals. It idea of this new science is to find a digital fingerprint or artifact and decipher the reason that it exists.
There are many uses for computer forensics. The science is used in legal cases to check out the system of a defendant in a child pornography case, for instance. Or it could be used in the accounting world to see if any files have been erased or altered. Computer forensics is used in case of a hard drive failure to recover information that would be otherwise lost. In a secure venue, computer forensics might be used to determine just how someone broke into a system that was supposed to be secure.
Computer forensics can be used against an employee that a company wishes to terminate to gather information on how that employee uses his time or his equipment. Computer forensics can also be a force in re-engineering something such as in the case of stolen information or equipment in business espionage.
This process of computer investigation is used is very detailed and the person who does the forensic search has to be careful that the chain of evidence is kept and that none of the evidence is contaminated. Also, it is important to be certain that through investigation no virus is planted or transferred. At all time, attorney-client privilege must be respected.
The evidence can be used by the prosecutor in the case, the lawyer on the defense side, insurance companies, and civil litigators.
The University of Maryland offers a degree in what they term Cyber Security. It is an area devoted to teaching those who seek the degree how to catch cyber terrorists. With today’s world wide access to the banking industry and to stocks and bonds and their trading houses, cyber security is very important. Almost 99% of our personal information is online now through someone that we have to give it to. Once we give out our information we have no guarantee that it will not get into the hands of someone who has bad intentions. This is a hot course since it is offered by the University of Maryland and is so close to Washington, D.C. and government operations.
Once you become a computer forensics investigator you can apply to the Department of Homeland Security for one of their computer positions or to any other government agency which will need experts on site. A computer forensic investigator must have a good relationship with computers because he or she will be dealing with them every day that they are on the job.
Some companies share a computer forensics investigator because neither company can afford to hire one full time. Being able to freelance as a computer forensics investigator means that a person can offer his or her training and knowledge to the highest bidder in the protection industry.