Computer Forensics Investigator

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A Computer Forensics Investigator is a specially-trained professional who works with law enforcement agencies and private firms to combat cyber attacks, hacking, phishing, and other threats by retrieving information from computers and other types of data storage devices.

Computer crime takes many forms from phishing scams targeting senior citizens to data breaches at multinational corporations. When law enforcement agencies investigate these crimes they often use Computer Forensics Investigators to help solve the crime. Therefore, many Computer Forensics Investigators work in the law enforcement industry; however, many also are hired by private companies. Opportunities, in addition to those in government and law enforcement, include those in hospitality and gaming companies, educational institutions, and energy firms.

Computer Forensics Investigators gather, analyze, and preserve information on computer systems with the objective of finding evidence of criminal activity including who was responsible and what damage was done. They also may be responsible for ensuring compliance with federal and State reporting requirements when confidential information has been exposed during a security breach.

During investigations, an Analyst recovers and examines data from computers and other electronic storage devices to use the data as evidence in criminal prosecutions. The Investigator also may have to dismantle and rebuild the system to recover lost data, especially if the equipment has been damaged. Then the Investigator is responsible for producing a comprehensive report and may have to testify in court on the investigation’s findings.

General Educational Requirements

Computer Forensics Investigators generally need to have a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems or Computer Science so that they can demonstrate a deep knowledge of computer hardware, software, and operating systems. Some employers may require an advanced degree such as a Master’s Degree in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity.

Additional Qualifications

Naturally, the Computer Forensics Investigator needs to have an excellent working knowledge of all aspects of computer systems including networking and encryption. But this type of position requires other skills including excellent oral and written communications skills, patience, solid decision-making skills, self discipline, focus, problem-solving skills, and great attention to detail. Investigators also must keep current on new methodologies and technology in the field of cybersecurity forensics.

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