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computer forensics/ digital investigators; leaders in the fight against fraud, how to become a computer forensics expert

Updated on May 8, 2011

Computer forensics investigation is an aspect of computer science that is fashioned to handle any computer related crime and fraud. Fraud and crime have taken a new look as it is now mostly done through computers. And for this reason, it will take the services of those that are highly knowledgeable in computer forensics and investigation to uncover fraud in this aspect of fraud examination. Computer forensics investigators can be contracted in any of these fraud cases to carryout investigation:

POSSIBLE KINDS OF FRAUDS

Insurance fraud: insurance fraud investigation is one hot area where fraudsters have decided to shift their attention to in the meantime. Clients are being furnished with misrepresentation of facts at the time of taking up the insurance policy only for them to be given excuses at the occurrence of the event insured. You can be called upon to carryout insurance fraud investigation when computer is the object of the fraud or crime.

Divorce fraud and Bankruptcy fraud: divorce fraud and bankruptcy fraud can occur; before, during or after divorce or bankruptcy. Fraud examiners are mostly called upon to carryout investigation in this kind of fraud but when the fraud is committed with computer, the services of a computer forensics investigator will be needed.

Tax fraud: cases of tax aversion are these days investigated by tax fraud specialist with good working knowledge of computer forensics as tax systems have computerized.

Mortgage fraud: you will agree with me that the prime cause of the economic global crisis is the sharp practices that existed in the sub-prime sector of the US economy. A lot of toxic assets were created in the mortgage sector to cover up for the mess that has been going on there for sometime. And most of these frauds are based on high-tech that will only take the service of a high-tech person to uncover. Mortgage fraud is even higher now as I write this hub.

Online fraud and Computer fraud: online and internet fraud is growing with alarming rate that if nothing were to be done, we will soon be heading back to the stone age where things were done crudely and manually as many people will resort to manual way of doing things. Computer forensics investigators are one of the most qualified information processing professionals that can properly utilize technology to investigate this kind of fraud.

Financial statements fraud: owing to the fact that financial statements are now computer based, computer forensics investigators are most suitable to handle financial statements frauds. Or how can you expect a fraud examiner without knowledge of computer forensics to delve into this kind of investigation. Forensic accountants are sometimes called upon to take the place of fraud examiners.

Healthcare fraud: computer forensics has the part that deals with medical forensics, experts in this field should be at the forefront in the fight against this kind of fraud.

Now that you have known of the vast opportunities that exists for you as a computer forensics investigator, what then do you do to fully equip yourself so as to take advantage of these opportunities in the aspect of computer science that deals with computer forensics? The simple answer is ‘to learn how to become a computer forensics investigator’. So sit back and enjoy the journey to becoming a computer forensics investigator.

COMPUTER FORENSICS SOFTWARES

HOW TO BECOME A COMPUTER FORENSICS INVESTIGATOR

To become a computer forensics investigator, knowledge is the principal thing that you need. But, this knowledge does not come to everybody that passively seeks it. You have to actively seek it. And one way of actively seeking computer forensic knowledge is to invest in the right kinds of tools. You need a lab that is reasonably equipped with both hardwares and softwares.

REQUIREMENTS FOR A COMPUTER FORENSICS LAB

The minimum tools that must be in your computer forensic lab is what I will be listing and explaining in this section of this hub. Note however that there is no harm in having more tools in your computer forensics lab if you can afford them.

COMPUTER SYSTEMS: at least, five computer systems need to be present in your lab. This will include one laptop for your outdoor assignments. Different versions of OS (Operating systems) will be installed in them. The reason for this is that most criminals tend to use somewhat outdated OSs to perpetrate their deeds. Partition the hard-disks and install on them different OS.

SAFE BUILT WITH COPPER: you need to build your work area with copper so as to avoid unnecessary tapping of your bit-stream evidence. Coppers traps sniffers (softwares/codes written to tap into your systems) and earth them. The ideal thing to do is to build a safe like work area.

ELECTROSTATIC BAGS: the best place to store your storage devices is in electrostatic bags. This will prevent your evidence from being corrupt and also help preserve them in their original state.

COMPUTER FORENSICS SOFTWARES: computer forensics softwares are everywhere these days. Simply look for the one that best meet your needs. I use EnCase for most of my forensic tasks.

Chemical fire extinguisher (fire suppression system): you never can tell when there will be fire outbreak. People working against you might want to set the whole place on fire just to destroy the digital evidence gathered against them.

EVIDENCE LOCKER: you must use a secure container to store your evidence. Make sure you constantly inspect them for possible trace of alteration. Use padlocks that have limited duplicate keys. Make sure also that you have a good continuity plan on ground.

CABLES AND SPARE EXPANSION SLOTS: spare cables and expansion slots will be needed when you need to access certain older ports. Again, some evidences are destroyed when the system is powered on, so accessing them through cables and expansion slots is your best bet to preserve your digital evidence.

COMMUNICATIONS TOOLS: work with your electrician and network service provider to ensure that the best and most secure communication gadgets are installed in your lab to reasonably guarantee a safe and secure communication in your work environment. Someone might be eavesdropping into your conversation.

LIGHTENING AND ERGONOMICS: for health reasons, proper lightening and ergonomic conditions must be met to ensure that you don’t work at the expense of your health.

An important step to take is to always audit your computer forensics lab on a regular basis; say, every month or so. Some of the things to lookout for while auditing your forensics lab are:

· Inspect the ceiling, floor, roof, air-conditioners, bulbs, and exterior walls. This exercise may lead you to the discovery of bugging device(s) that might have been implanted to tap information from your lab.

· Ensure that your locks and keys are intact.

· Check with the receptionist to be satisfied that the visitors log is up-to-date.

· Review any evidence container that has had any transaction in it (i.e. either opened or closed).

· Secure any evidence that is not being processed on a forensic workstation.

Before now, the aim of every forensic investigator was to get a bit-stream of evidence, but, that has long changed with the advent of cloud computing.

Other aspects that need to be looked into as part of your preparation for a career in computer forensics investigation are the areas of qualifications and legal framework of forensics computer investigators. A lot of forensics experts have landed themselves in trouble as a result of violating one law or the other.

You need to constantly keep up with developments in privacy laws and evidence laws as they are the most frequently violated laws in forensics services- especially expert-witness terrain.

Please note that the content of this hub cannot and will not give you all that you need to make it in computer forensics investigation. So, I urge you to pick all the Amazon Books that I have carefully selected for your consumption.

To your new found career opportunity in computer forensics investigation!!

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    • profile image

      Marsshall 

      7 years ago

      This is interesting.I know that there are so many ways of commiting a fraud on the internet and many people who know how and they do it without thinking to much.That's why there are so many teenagers ending up in prisons.I am working for a Data Center Security and I had the chance to see many things like this.

    • chinweike profile imageAUTHOR

      Chinweike 

      8 years ago from Glasgow, UK

      thevoice, Thanks for your comment. Computer forensics is really an aspect of computer science that people need to explore.

      Cheers!

    • thevoice profile image

      thevoice 

      8 years ago from carthage ill

      really terrific hub read thanks

    • chinweike profile imageAUTHOR

      Chinweike 

      8 years ago from Glasgow, UK

      Jacob Darkley, you can easily become a professional since you already have interest in computer forensics.

      thanks for commenting.

      Cheers!

    • Jacob Darkley profile image

      Jacob Darkley 

      8 years ago from California, USA

      Interesting hub--I do like computers and forensics... not sure that qualifies me as an expert, though!

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