computer forensics examiner is a growing career field. Professionals in this field specialize in the investigation, recovery, analysis, and reporting of data obtained from digital sources. Typically the information they find is used in investigations, whether it is for law enforcement or the private sector. These professionals can attempt to determine the source of an unauthorized computer system or network intrusion, recover data from erased or encrypted files, and recover deleted e-mails and passwords.
While most commonly associated with police work, computer forensics is also increasingly used by businesses. Computer data is increasingly important for companies of all sizes. The risks are great as computers and networks containing highly sensitive and confidential information that are susceptible to intrusion. The theft of data can cause millions of dollars in losses and can be very damaging to a company’s reputation. Although companies cumulatively spend billions of dollars a year for greater computer security, the success rate of attacks has not diminished.
Computer forensics examiners need a wide range of technical skills and knowledge including network security, protocols, software, routing, computer file formats, cryptology, reverse software engineering, diagnostic techniques, and password cracking. In addition to technical skills, professionals in this field must have good oral and written communication skills, understand and comply with investigation procedures, work under tight deadlines, and be detail oriented. They must also be able to write detailed reports and may provide testimony in court in criminal cases.
Professionals in this field can have different job titles such as computer forensics “investigator”, “examiner”, “analyst”, “Forensic Scientist” or other similar titles. The job title is dependent on their job responsibilities and area of expertise. The average salary for a computer forensic examiner is about $75,000 a year.