Experts regularly rank cybercrime as one of the biggest threats to businesses around the world. latestquestionnaireDHL ranks cyber incidents, including cybercrime, as one of the top business threats of 2019. Globally, cybercrime costs organizations more than1 trillion dollars, and the threat will only grow.
big companies likeFacebook,the first american co.,equifax, iyahooPossessing large amounts of consumer data is a common target for cybercriminals. As a result, most invest heavily in cybersecurity programs. However, it is worth noting that cybercrime affects companies of all sizes and levels of maturity. According to a 2019 data breach investigation report compiled by Verizon,43%Small business victims are involved in (almost half) of all data breaches.
As data breaches become more frequent, they have in many ways become routine, with the public just collectively shrugging it off. But beyond a simple invasion of privacy, data breaches can compromise people's personal, financial, and even medical information. In addition to the direct costs associated with handling security breaches, companies involved in such data breaches may also face substantial legal costs. These costs, combined with the loss of consumer trust, mean that a single breach can seriously damage a company's bottom line.
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For these reasons, it is critical that businesses of all sizes hire qualified professionals to protect against these threats, a fact that has led to increased demand for computer forensics investigators.
If you are considering a career in computer forensics investigations, there has never been a better time to enter the field. Here are some tips to boost your cybersecurity career.
What do computer forensic investigators do?
The field of cyber forensics focuses on the collection, processing, and analysis of all digital forms of evidence.
“Computer forensics is a cybersecurity field closely related to the application domain,” said Guevara Noubir, a professor and director of the institute.Cyber Security and Information Assurance Programat Northeastern University. “For example, it is used by the police to investigate crime and by businesses to investigate issues related to intellectual property or misuse of computer and network infrastructure.”
Below, we explore some of the day-to-day roles and duties that computer forensics investigators are expected to perform as part of their job.
1. Cybercrime prevention and response
One of the fundamental functions of computer forensics investigators is the fight against cybercrime. This work can be divided into three different phases.
- prevention:When employed by a regulatory organization or agency, much of the work performed by computer forensic investigators focuses on cybercrime prevention. This includes active monitoring and evaluation of servers and networks. If a vulnerability is discovered at any time, the researchers will work with others to develop an action plan to patch the system and remove the vulnerability.
- Contains and resolves:According to IBMData Breach Report Cost for 2019, medium need279 days for identification and retentionCybersecurity attacks and millionaire damages. When a data breach is discovered, it is the responsibility of the computer forensics investigator to determine how the breach occurred and ensure that it is resolved quickly to limit these costs and restore network integrity.
- Thought and analysis:Once a data breach is resolved, computer forensics experts analyze the incident to fully understand the methods used by malicious actors to carry out their attacks. Companies can use that information to prevent future attacks.
To do this work, computer forensic investigators may be hired by law enforcement agencies, as part of a company's internal cybersecurity team, or as an independent third-party contractor to solve a specific problem.
2. Legal advice
It is not uncommon for computer forensic investigators to assist in court proceedings in criminal cases as law enforcement officers or as independent investigators. At the most basic level, this may involve collecting digital evidence to aid in a conviction, for example by analyzing digital traces or rebuilding damaged hardware. It may also include testifying in court as an expert witness.
"There are strict requirements to recover and investigate actual digital evidence for it to be admissible in court," Noubir said. "For example, digital evidence must be authentic and must retain its integrity to be admissible as evidence in court."
For these reasons, computer forensics investigators must have a strong understanding of technical and soft skills in order to successfully perform their roles. Whether in the courtroom or in the office, the ability to collect, process and interpret information relevant to your job, often for non-technical people, is essential for the job.
3. Stay on top of digital trends
Technology is constantly adapting and changing.block chain, eggInternet of Things (IoT)And portable devices are just a few examples. While this evolution has created many opportunities for companies and organizations to adapt the way they do business, it has also created more opportunities for risk.
For this reason, computer forensics professionals must ensure that they continually expand their knowledge and understanding of the cybersecurity protocols and policies that apply specifically to their organizations and industries. While this is not a particular requirement of day-to-day computer forensics work, it will be difficult for computer forensics investigators to function effectively without following current trends and developments.
Some of the ways that computer forensics investigators keep up to date include:
- Read specialized magazines, websites and other publications.It highlights the latest achievements in the field.
- Join a professional associationProvide members with valuable resources, such as access to cutting-edge research.
- Attend industry networking events, which provides an opportunity to connect with other people working in the field to exchange ideas.
- obtain a higher degree,like aMaster's Degree in Cybersecurity, focusing on these emerging areas.
Salary and job prospects.
The median annual salary for a computer forensic investigator (also known as a digital forensic investigator) is approximately85,660 dollarsHowever, salaries can range from $61,657 to over $112,000, depending on a variety of factors, including your location, education level, and experience. In general, those with advanced degrees in cybersecurity-related fields can command higher salaries.
Other related positions and their average annual salaries include:
- Cyber Security Analyst:$ 53,000 a $ 117,000
- Network Security Engineer:$67,000 a $138,000
- Computer security expert:$ 48,000 a $ 110,000
Overcome3.5 millionWith an estimated number of cybersecurity job openings in 2021, cybersecurity professionals are expected to continue to be in high demand for the next decade.
Each of these roles offers professionals numerous opportunities for advancement, with high average salaries and open positions. It is not uncommon for computer forensics investigators to eventually steer their careers in a leadership direction by becoming senior investigators or directors, or by starting their own consulting agency or private practice. High-level positions generally require an advanced degree.
How to become a computer forensic investigator
"A career in this field requires a combination of technical knowledge of computer networks and systems, as well as domain and legal experience," said Noubir.
He added: "In addition to a solid technical foundation, a successful computer forensics investigator will gain experience in the field through academic study of the law and best practices, contextualized through hands-on training."
Below we look at the steps you need to take if you are considering becoming a computer forensics investigator.
1. Meet educational requirements
Each company or organization has its own requirements for the level of education of job candidates.
Although it is possible to enter the field with just a high school diploma and enough experience, a recent survey by Burning Glass Labor Insights found that approx.84%Cyber security positions require applicants to have at least a bachelor's degree in a related field. About 23 percent of cybersecurity job postings require applicants to have a master's degree or higher.
If you're considering a graduate degree to meet the educational requirements employers are looking for, it's important to note that many different degrees may be appropriate.
AMaster's Degree in Cybersecurityit is a popular choice because it allows students to develop a broad and robust understanding of the key issues they may encounter in the field. Other options may include gettingMaster in Information Systems,informatica, ocriminal justice, depending on your particular interests and focus areas.
2. Develop your skills
Achieving the appropriate level of education is an important part of becoming a computer forensics investigator. Another important step is to develop the skills and experience that employers want to see in job candidates. According to Burning Glass Labor Insights,83%Cyber security job postings (including computer forensics postings) require applicants to have at least three years of experience in the field, with an average of more than five years preferred.
Some of the key skills that computer forensics investigators need to learn and maintain include:
- Technical abilities:To function effectively, computer forensics investigators must develop strong technical skills. This includes a good understanding of information security; configure the network; database administration, coding and scripting; auditing; network protocols; and system administration.
- Soft skills:As mentioned above, computer forensics investigators must frequently interact with a variety of audiences, including manyYeahIT experts. Therefore, soft skills, such as the ability to communicate effectively, are critical to the job.
- Legal understanding:Since it is not uncommon for computer forensics investigators to assist in criminal investigations and cases, a thorough understanding of legal procedures and protocols can be particularly helpful.
One of the best ways to develop these skills is to spend time working in the field to gain hands-on experience. Although effective, developing expertise in this way can take years.
Or earn an advanced degree focused on hands-on learningcooperative or internshipIt can be an effective way to develop these skills and gain experience at the same time.
3. Improve your knowledge
According to Burning Glass Labor Insights, more than a third (35%) require applicants to possess industry-specific certifications to qualify for the position. There are several certifications that you can consider to help you become a computer forensics investigator. Some agencies or companies even require investigators to have certain credentials to join the team.
Certificates fall into two categories: Vendor Neutral and vendor-specific certificates.neutral sellerThe program shows the best practices of researchers in certain areas of development, whilevendor specificThe programs confirm the expertise of the expert on a specific software platform.
ThisInternational Association of Computer Forensic ExaminersiInternational Association of Informatics ResearchersIt offers a vendor-independent Certified Computer Forensics Examiner certification that consists of two phases. other examples includeGlobal Information Assurance Certification (GIAC), eggEnCE certificate, idata authentication access.
However, it is important to note that these certificates do not replace the need for formal education. In most cases, these certificates are considered complementary to undergraduate and graduate education.
4. Develop professionally
“In the arms race between attackers and defenders, an adversary only needs to find a vulnerability to exploit or attack a system,” Noubir said. "So a successful career in cyber security requires: a strong technical foundation to make sound judgments, the passion and curiosity to stay on top of your game and tenacity, or at least not fall victim to simple attacks, as I sadly continue to witness . almost every day."
Those who wish to become computer forensic investigators must have a willingness to continually learn and develop. Company-sponsored training is a valuable asset professionals should consider to ensure their skills are up to date. Also, taking advantage of networking opportunities allows you to collaborate with others to learn from their successes (and mistakes) and improve your skills.
Earning an advanced degree in cybersecurity can be an effective way to build such a network, connecting you with like-minded people such as fellow students and industry professors who have worked in the field.
Chart your path to becoming a computer forensics investigator
The demand for computer forensic investigators is at an all-time high, and professionals with the right skills, experience, and connections are ready to fill it. Get an advanced degree likeMaster's Degree in Cybersecurity,Information technology, oinformaticaYou can help interested professionals learn these skills, gain the experience they need, and build connections and networks they will use throughout their careers.
At Northeastern University, the MS in Cyber Security is specifically designed to explore critical information security problems and how technology and people can work together to solve them. Students develop and strengthen technical skills and deepen their understanding of the environment in which cybersecurity technologies are applied, while developing lasting relationships with faculty and fellow students that will continue throughout their careers. Plus, major projects and numerous co-op opportunities allow students to get the real-world experience employers expect.
Are you ready to start an exciting career in this growing field? download ourGuidelines for improving cybersecuritythe following occupations.