How to Benefit From Computer Forensics Services

It’s almost impossible to find an online crime that can’t benefit from computer forensics services. Any information that is passed along through computers, fax machines or cell phones, to name a few, can be accessed, analyzed and reported on by a computer forensics expert.

One service provided by computer forensics includes electronic discovery. This is where documents, email, intellectual property, trade secrets, copyright issues, databases, internet activity, instant messaging, computer security and network intrusion are all examined and determined what information might be valuable to a case or situation. This area is used when a client has knowledge of what information is on the computer, or other device, and needs help in guiding them in the right direction as to how to use the data.

Computer forensics services also include data discovery and analysis. This is when a computer forensics team uses techniques to retrieve data that was thought to be lost. Once this material is recovered it is then analyzed to determine who the author was, when it was created/deleted and it’s relevance to your specific situation. This is an important phase that needs to be handled very carefully as to not lose sensitive information. Even turning a computer on or off can corrupt evidence.

An extremely important computer forensic service is the preservation of evidence. In this step a forensic image is made of all pertinent data. This image is actually what is being analyzed and the original source where the data was extracted is put in a safe and confidential environment. The security and authenticity of this information is analyzed very carefully and handled only by a digital forensics expert.

Once these steps are properly completed it is the job of the computer forensics analyst to piece together a report on the findings. All of the evidence needs to be carefully phrased and should only contain key issues that are relevant to that specific situation. The goal here is to put together everything that pertains to that case and will have the highest chance of success.

Usually, computer forensic services are utilized in a court of law. With this in mind, it’s imperative that a cyber forensics analyst is able to give an expert testimony on their findings. The computer forensic examination needs to be exact with its evidence and whoever is representing the forensics company needs to be well spoken, persuasive and extremely accurate with their testimony.

All of these services are important aspects of the computer forensics realm. Each area needs to be carried out in a very specific and careful way so no evidence is ever tampered with or mishandled. Each step of the process is just as important as the first which is why it takes many years of experience to be considered an expert in this field. Each project should be considered as valuable as the next and it’s not only important to maintain the services currently offered through computer forensics but to strive to stay on the cutting edge of technology and be able to combat anything that is new to the game.

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Computer Forensics Degree – Requirements and Curriculum

As data security and confidentiality become an increasingly important element of corporate and government communications, the demand for computer forensic scientists is rapidly increasing. In order to enter the field, you should strongly consider enrolling in a program that allows you to earn a bachelor or master computer forensics degree.

Careers in digital forensics requires a broad set of skills to allow you to analyze computer data and security, including network technologies and traffic. Computer forensics degrees allow you to develop a wide range of knowledge in computer science, criminal justice and engineering, all of which is important for a future career in forensics. In particularly, you will develop skills to understand file formats, networking protocols, cryptology, software engineering and data analysis.

Computer forensic degrees are often available as associates or bachelors degrees, as well as through professional, specialist degree training. A number of well known universities such as California State offer degree programs focused on digital forensics. These degrees are structured to enable you to earn become a Certified Information System Security Professional, the highest level of certification for forensics professionals. In addition to in-person training, a number of schools offer online distance training in forensics, including ITT Technical Institute.

Courses within a computer forensics degree generally focus on the technology and legal aspects of the career, requiring the development of a broad base of knowledge. Students are required to gain expertise in the criminal justice and law enforcement system, as well as a core set of skills in both computer science with a focus on hardware and computer security.

At leading universities course offerings include Forensics and Crime Scene Investigation, Cyber Crime Analysis, Police Investigation Techniques, Essentials of Computer Security, Computer Forensic Analysis and Cryptology and Computer Security. Each of these courses builds upon a foundation in criminal justice and computer science. As one of the fastest growing professions, the requirements for computer forensics training require a working knowledge of a range of technology from networking equipment to wireless protocols.

Importantly, leading computer forensics schools will provide you with an opportunity to gain hands on work experience through internships and work study opportunities within the field. Both private companies as well as government agencies are actively recruiting computer forensics experts to aid in investigations, so demand remains high for new entrants into the field. By earning a well qualified computer forensics degree, you can put yourself in a good position to become a working professional upon graduation. Louis Zhang, Accrcomputerforensics dot com

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Importance of Computer Forensics

Computer forensics is the process of using the latest knowledge of science and technology with computer sciences to collect, analyze and present proofs to the criminal or civil courts. Network administrator and security staff administer and manage networks and information systems should have complete knowledge of computer forensics. The meaning of the word “forensics” is “to bring to the court”. Forensics is the process which deals in finding evidence and recovering the data. The evidence includes many forms such as finger prints, DNA test or complete files on computer hard drives etc. The consistency and standardization of computer forensics across courts is not recognized strongly because it is new discipline.

It is necessary for network administrator and security staff of networked organizations to practice computer forensics and should have knowledge of laws because rate of cyber crimes is increasing greatly. It is very interesting for mangers and personnel who want to know how computer forensics can become a strategic element of their organization security. Personnel, security staff and network administrator should know all the issues related to computer forensics. Computer experts use advanced tools and techniques to recover deleted, damaged or corrupt data and evidence against attacks and intrusions. These evidences are collected to follow cases in criminal and civil courts against those culprits who committed computer crimes.

The survivability and integrity of network infrastructure of any organization depends on the application of computer forensics. In the current situations computer forensics should be taken as the basic element of computer and network security. It would be a great advantage for your company if you know all the technical and legal aspects of computer forensics. If your network is attacked and intruder is caught then good knowledge about computer forensics will help to provide evidence and prosecute the case in the court.

There are many risks if you practice computer forensics badly. If you don’t take it in account then vital evidence might be destroyed. New laws are being developed to protect customers’ data; but if certain kind of data is not properly protected then many liabilities can be assigned to the organization. New rules can bring organizations in criminal or civil courts if the organizations fail to protect customer data. Organization money can also be saved by applying computer forensics. Some mangers and personnel spent a large portion of their IT budget for network and computer security. It is reported by International Data Corporation (IDC) that software for vulnerability assessment and intrusion detection will approach $1.45 billion in 2006.

As organizations are increasing in number and the risk of hackers and contractors is also increase so they have developed their own security systems. Organizations have developed security devices for their network like intrusions detection systems (IDS), proxies, firewalls which report on the security status of network of an organization. So technically the major goal of computer forensics is to recognize, gather, protect and examine data in such a way that protects the integrity of the collected evidence to use it efficiently and effectively in a case. Investigation of computer forensics has some typical aspects. In first area computer experts who investigate computers should know the type of evidence they are looking for to make their search effective. Computer crimes are wide in range such as child pornography, theft of personal data and destruction of data or computer.

Second, computer experts or investigators should use suitable tools. The investigators should have good knowledge of software, latest techniques and methods to recover the deleted, encrypted or damaged files and prevent further damage in the process of recovery. In computer forensics two kinds of data are collected. Persistent data is stored on local disk drives or on other media and is protected when the computer is powered off or turned off. Volatile data is stored in random access memory and is lost when the computer is turned off or loses power. Volatile data is located in caches, random access memory (RAM) and registers. Computer expert or investigator should know trusted ways to capture volatile data. Security staff and network administrators should have knowledge about network and computer administration task effects on computer forensics process and the ability to recover data lost in a security incident.

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Electronic Evidence Discovery May Shift To The Mobile Computer Forensic Specialist

As the computing world advances and especially as the world of the wireless computing advances, there are certainly going to be instances where the services of a mobile computer specialist will be required.

The mobile arena now includes hand-held devices with comprehensive capability, in fact there are many more wireless units than desktops.The complexities of today`s wireless units such as iPods, iPads, Smartphones and tablet computers now have the same computing power of PC`s that were manufactured within the last decade. With cutting-edge technology such as infrared and bluetooth now integrated in to mobile computers, the advances in mobile computing are rapidly surpassing those of the desktop computer.

The hand-held device now includes a wide variety of units and can include video cameras, iPods,digital recorders or any hand held units.Mobiles may differ from the desktop computer in the way that they operate. The mobile computer forensic field now shifts from hard drive recovery to electronic evidence discovery of hand held units.

The mobile operating systems and hardware standards may change more frequently as new advances are introduced. New versions may be introduced several times within the product year, whereas computer software, may be revised annually or bi-annually. There are many different platforms in the wireless computing arena which makes the job of the mobile computer forensic specialist even more challenging and additionally, there may be variations within each communication technology. There are several variations of the 802.11 which is the standard used by all wireless networks. Shorter range wireless communication involves the use of Bluetooth, while within even shorter ranges, communication is handled by the infrared light waves.

Mobile computer forensics does not only involve mobile phones and the approach is not yet standardized due to the rapid advances and multiple operating platforms. The main reason for the state of affairs is that many manufacturers are pushing different standards in hardware, interfaces, operating systems and protocols. As a result, mobile forensics cannot be treated in the same way as static computer forensics, even though the concepts, may appear to be similar. The mobile forensic specialist job may rely less on technology and more on skills, procedures and problem-solving ability and the approach can be different.

Perhaps the most important forensic component of the mobile phone would be the Subscriber Identity Module card which is used to authenticate the user and verify the services. Alternatively, this information can be embedded in the phone. Forensic information may also be available in external Secure Digital cards that can be used by most mobile devices.

The mobile forensic field is primarily concerned with the acquisition of mobile phone data and there are tools, both hardware and software. Another challenge for the mobile forensic specialist is to keep up with the avalanche of changes in the mobile computing industry. Mobile forensic software may behind the curve with regard to the new mobile technologies and you should be aware of the various tools both forensic and non forensic that can be used.

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Computer Forensics and How to Get Computer Forensics Job

There is little debate that electronic technology including computers and the Internet are one of the most important developments of recent times. Tasks that took days to complete and that demanded hundreds of man hours to effectively execute can now be easily done at the touch of a button. But the growing importance of technology is not without its drawbacks with probably the most major one being internet and computer enabled crime.

The growing capability of computers and applications as well as the ever increasing level of interconnectivity and information sharing has made it easier for persons with malicious intent to use computers to plan terrorism attacks, conduct intellectual property theft, credit card fraud and hack computer systems to gain access to confidential information. The sophisticated nature of these crimes has seen the growing need for experts in computer forensics.

Computer forensics experts are law enforcement officers, private investigators or members of corporate audit teams whose core duties revolve around the identification, collection and analysis of electronic evidence that demonstrates the occurrence of a crime or lack thereof. Sometimes referred to as cyber cops, digital detectives or cyber investigators, their goal is not only reactive where they piece together pieces of computer data from a crime scene – it is also proactive where the computer forensics expert will recommend the best approaches that can be used to seal system security gaps and reduce the risk of computer based crime from materializing.

Computer forensic jobs will often be found in the military, law enforcement agencies, government intelligence outfits, private investigators office, technology security consultants and audit firms. To have better chances of being called up for a computer forensic job interview, one must have a degree in computer science, computer engineering, electronic engineering or a related discipline. Knowledge of the criminal justice system and especially laws around cyber crime and management of digital evidence including gathering and storing the evidence are key. Due to the sensitive nature of this role, persons working as computer forensic experts must obtain security clearance.

A good understanding of at least one major programming language with working knowledge of others is also important. Computer forensic experts must know the workings of computer storage devices and the major operating systems.

Many persons that end up in computer forensic careers do not necessarily start in this line. Working in the general IT industry or in the general IT security niche for at least two years provides a good foundation for understanding the core workings of computer systems and the areas of control weakness that cyber criminals may explore.

The details that these digital detectives have to sift through require that one have a keen eye for detail if they are not to miss anything. Other than technical computer skills, the forensic experts must be analytical and have high integrity. The ability to work well in a high pressure environment is a must as many times, the forensics expert will be required to provide rapid feedback on an adverse incident.

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