Art of computer forensics

Forensics as a field has received some popularity the last few years, does that include computer forensics? It does, but I must confess to knowing very little about it having only read some articles on the subject. A recent article, a Tech Republic blog post by Deb Shinder, titled "So, you want to be a computer forensics expert" covers many key issues like education, training and the actual job.

Deb begins by explaining that forensics is the art of applying scientific methods to resolve legal questions. She points out a few related areas and concludes with a definition of computer forensics. As the name indicates, Deb states, "computer forensics involves the examination of computer systems and data for legal purposes".

So, how does one become a computer forensic specialist? Deb says there's no clear-cut path as there is with other fields. She relates to the doctor who became an MD first, went into pathology at some point, and then decided to specialize in forensics. Applying a likewise path to computer forensics, a person would have to train in computer science first and then move into forensics. Current experts in the field seem to not fit that mold. Deb believes that many computer forensic specialists are self-taught or learned what they know through real-world experience. She also says that many people who work in the field initially started in law enforcement and gained an interest in the field. Others, she says, were already computer professionals who gravitated toward the field.

Deb concludes the post by pointing out that computer forensics isn't limited to criminal cases; it's also a part of civil cases. She thinks job opportunities are in both the public and private sector and the field will likely grow in the future. To read the entire blog Google the title.

Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Poland is certified in computer repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant. Questions may be sent to him via e-mail at ron@ronpoland.com.

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