Path into Computer Forensics

browndudebrowndude Posts: 1Member ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello, and what a great forum.icon_cheers.gif Stumbled accross TE whilst wiki surfing. :D
Intro to who I am - lateish 20's, and a bit of a background working in technology. I initially got started in computers in my teens, but drifted off the path (thanks to girls and beer!) and kept my interests as a hobby. Unofortunatley I spent quite a while working front-line with the general public (which most people know sucks!). Fast forward a (good) few years, and I'm now at the point where I want to make a big change. I figure now that I may as well be doing something I'm interested in and not just live to work.

So with all that said the area that I'm looking towards and interested in is Computer forensics. I found an article in one of the magazines I read (FHM) and it was about a Forensics expert with the police. I was pretty fascinated and started reading about the topic. The magazine is a good number of years old (don't know why I missed it when I first read the magazine) but still very relevant, I think. I have some pals who work in computer jobs but they are very, for want of a better word, LAZY! Perfectly happy to spend their time working 9 -5 and then having weekends to themselves. Nothing wrong with that, but there is no ambition there. I have discussed IT with them at some depth and some of the things they said are slightly worrying. They don't know a lot about Forensics, but they say it is a very small field with not much chance of employment, and all software jobs are getting sent to Asia and other countries. Now I feel that I have to take what they say with a grain of salt, as they only work in very very basic IT jobs and don't really have a lot of exposure to what they are talking about.

After finding TE I see that there are loads of really expert people here and someone must have some knowledge of the area I am interested in and can offer good solid advice. I have looked at some courses that I can do at both University and via distance but I'm at a loss as to where I should start. Any advice that you may offer will greatly help me, and maybe in the coming years I can pay it back!
Thanks for reading.

Comments

  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    Welcome to the forums!

    Do you have any formal education? It seems like a background in law and/or law-enforcement is necessary in addition to the requisite technical abilities.

    I think the best thing you can do is what's called an informational interview. Most people are flattered to have someone inquire about their career and will welcome the opportunity to talk about themselves. I'd just try to track down a few people who have the position you're interested in and invite them out to lunch/dinner/coffee/drinks/etc. and see if you can bend their ears for an hour or two. That should give you a good idea of what's necessary to get to that point as well as if you'd really like doing that type of work.
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Posts: 4,160Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    I know some people who are in mobile phone/computer forensics. The biggest thing is knowing the laws that apply to the country, state, and city you work in. A lot of departments only have computer forensics at the state level (such as the city of Philadelphia). Most probably have some at a county level or will go to the FBI if they really need information off of a device. In all honest, your best bet is to either become a police officer, FBI agent, or join the military. Doing your time, getting some education on the subject, should get you to the point where they will send you to a course (such as EnCASE) and then let you start doing computer forensics.

    I was able to join the High Technology Crime Investigation Associate (they just begun a student members program for those who lack the background security work) and everyone I've met thus far doing forensics has a lot of experience and didn't start in forensics. Good luck and believe me they need computer forensics people badly. I read an article not too long ago about the Secret Service having an 18 month back log of digital evidence that needed to be looked at.

    USAJOBS - Search Jobs

    That is a job posting for a computer forensics specialist with the US Government. Take a look at the qualifications.
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  • KasorKasor Posts: 912Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    First, you should a CS or IS related degree,
    Second, familiar with coding and programming, general data and files concept,
    Thrid, you need to find a job which you can develop your skills

    I don't really see that much of entry level job in CF. Mostly required experience. This is the problem in certain IT area. They want experience worker, but nobody want to train up the freebie. So, after a while, they ran out candidate and start to low down the requirement. Anyway, mostly you will need to start to work with Law Enforcement first...
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  • billscott92787billscott92787 Posts: 933Member
    This field is hard, because it depends on the area you are in. I was majoring in this before I switched and started studying networking. I have found that it seems a lot of these individuals are self employed. Studies for the Bureau of Labor statics have stated this as well. You definitely have to have some form of experience. I have even read that just a degree in that field isn't going to be enough. You have to know your stuff and have experience. It's kind of a double edge sword. You have to have experience to get the job. But, you need the job to get experience.
  • 7lowe7lowe Posts: 178Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Yes, this field does seem to have an even bigger catch 22 than most regarding getting experience when nobody wants to hire unexperienced people. I just finished my bachelor's in Network Security and Forensics and have seen only 1 job in forensics which seemed willing to hire people without experience and that was for NCIS.

    I just came from a 2 day digital forensics course and one of the guys there basically started his own business to get into it. I guess maybe it's easier to do that and get businesses to outsource work to you than to get actually get hired by a company.

    7
  • SmootCISSmootCIS Posts: 54Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I have actually worked in this field and was pretty successful at it, if you want to get your feet wet and get experience do like I did. You don't have to be ex law enforcement but if does help if your doing it at a criminal level, but I started in the financial sector dealing with Bankruptcy proceedings, which is federal, and has very little to do with law enforcement (mostly numbers looking for bank account information recovering spreadsheets for forensic accountants) they have a list of things that could qualify you as a forensic specialist, only one of them is certs, and education If you can demonstrate a real world knowledge in the court room you are fine with that alone, this again is for Civil matters, not criminal, but it will help you get the experience you need.
  • tpatt100tpatt100 Posts: 2,989Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    The Masters program I am in now offer a choice of three concentrations:

    Compliance, Governance Audit
    Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
    Digital Forensics

    I was leaning towards digital forensics but I may just go the CISO route. I am afraid of getting into forensics because I might screw up something and pow there goes your career because you messed up some evidence.
  • BeeDeeBeeDee Posts: 1Registered Users ■□□□□□□□□□
    SmootCIS wrote: »
    I have actually worked in this field and was pretty successful at it, if you want to get your feet wet and get experience do like I did. You don't have to be ex law enforcement but if does help if your doing it at a criminal level, but I started in the financial sector dealing with Bankruptcy proceedings, which is federal, and has very little to do with law enforcement (mostly numbers looking for bank account information recovering spreadsheets for forensic accountants) they have a list of things that could qualify you as a forensic specialist, only one of them is certs, and education If you can demonstrate a real world knowledge in the court room you are fine with that alone, this again is for Civil matters, not criminal, but it will help you get the experience you need.


    Mr. SmootCIS has a very good reply or at least I think it is and I'm now retired. One thing I would strongly suggest is to try to get an intern position or propose one if they don't have one. This allows you to rubshoulders with the actual people and hear their lingo, slang and terminology while observing everyone. Remember sometimes the loudest talkers are the biggest BS'ers so take everything with a grain of salt, interview everyone and soon it will all pull together. Good luck icon_lol.gif
  • the_hutchthe_hutch Posts: 827Banned
    I do some first response forensics for malware and intrusion related security events. I don't have it...but some of the guys I work with have EnCase certifications. I'm not sure how prevalent EnCase is outside of government though.
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