An introduction to Digital Forensics

If you think that you’d like a career in IT Security but you’re not quite sure where to begin, the need for Digital Analysts is due to rise as criminals become more savvy to evolving technology in the upcoming years. Digital Forensics is an area that can tackle this.

What is it?

Digital Forensics is the process of retrieving data from digital devices. This is often done in regards to a computer crime as part of an on-going investigation. A Digital Forensic Analyst will be responsible for sourcing this data from various devices, and presenting it as digital evidence in a courtroom as and when required in criminal investigations.

Where do I begin?

Digital Forensics happens to be an industry that favours formal qualifications. A degree of some sort is vital, and if this is a career you wish to pursue, it would be best for the degree to be IT-related, or a course that covers criminology in some form.

Generally, A-Levels in IT, Computing, Maths and Science are of huge benefit for being accepted onto these degree courses. This is largely to guarantee that you have a solid understand of technology.

Do I need experience?

Ideally yes. This is not to say that you can’t become a Digital Forensics Analyst if this is not an area you currently work in, but you do need to be able to prove your knowledge and understanding of IT, which will ideally come from employment history. It has become more common in recent years for police officers, with an interest for technology, to become trained in Digital Forensics, as they already have background knowledge in criminology, but could pick up the technology aspect through on-site training.

What does the job entail?

Although a Digital Forensic Analyst will typically work regular 9:00 to 5:00 hours, they will be expected to work unsociable shifts from time to time. Evenings and weekend working hours are not uncommon, particularly if the Analysts are requested to collect or remove digital equipment from an off-site location such as a suspect’s home.

On a daily basis, a Digital Forensic Analyst can expect to extract a various range of data. This could be accessing mobile phone activity or retrieving deleted data from a computer, but the diverse nature of the role means candidates should always keep up to date with technology.

From this collected data, Analysts will be expected to produce reports of their findings in a manner that others can understand. This will most often be in the interest of evidence for a court proceeding.

CYFOR is a leading digital forensics employer based in the UK.