Focus on Forensics
Sources : Times News Network
Date of Publishing:9/8/2010
WITH THE INCREASE IN CYBER CRIMES TODAY, DIGITAL FORENSICS IS A MUCH SOUGHT AFTER CAREER CHOICE FOR TECHNOLOGY SAVVY PROFESSIONALS. IRENE SAHA PRESENTS DETAILS
Digital forensics is the science of gathering digital evidence to solve crimes and for investigation purposes. It is the discovery, analysis, and reconstruction of evidence extracted from computer systems, computer networks, computer media, and computer peripherals that allow investigators to solve a crime. In today's cyber age, evidence of several crimes lie in digital formats like emails, chats, documents, digital pictures, pen drives, mobile phones etc. The imaging, recovery and analysis of such information is called digital forensics.
Technology is ever evolving and with new devices, softwares and encryptions being introduced everyday, specialised software and hardware to keep up with it is also being produced at a rapid pace. Hence, the scope of the field is vast and constantly requires new resources. Yet, awareness levels in India are very low and education on law enforcement in these areas needs to be imparted.
NEW TRENDS Several new trends in the digital forensics industry involve new software for forensics over computers, PDA's, mobiles, decryption, crime analysis software, forensics over new devices and operating systems. Digital forensic investigations are performed in support of various objectives, including timely cyber attack containment, perpetrator location and identification, damage mitigation and recovery initiation in the case of a crippled, yet functioning network. New labs have been set up in every state of the country for the same purpose. With the increase in cyber led crimes today, even major corporates are feeling the need to carry out forensics.
The process of computer forensics often begins with gathering of evidence from computer media seized at the crime scene. Principle concerns with computer forensics involve imaging storage media, recovering deleted files, searching slack and free space, and preserving the collected information for litigation purposes.
Network forensics gathers digital evidence that is distributed across large-scale, complex networks. Often this evidence is transient in nature and is not preserved within permanent storage media. Network forensics deals primarily with in-depth analysis of computer network intrusion evidence. The current commercial intrusion analysis tools are inadequate to deal with today's networked, distributed environments.
GROWTH AREAS "Forensics is no longer confined only to government or government organisations. With information going digital, even private companies are trying to fight cyber crime," says Rajat Kharey, managing director, Appin. It is an upcoming field and is likely to see immense growth in the following areas:
>> Research in Forensic Hardware >> Imaging Softwares >> Decryption >> Analysis Softwares >> Ethical Hacking >> Cyber Law >> Forensic Investigator Security companies deploy at least five people in every state for carrying out and supporting forensics and spreading awareness by means of training programmes. This number can even go up to around 20 in every state. Then the government employs many forensic investigators.
SKILLS SPOTLIGHT Profound knowledge of computers, mobile phones, PDAs and similar devices like the iPad, embedded devices and others is essential.
Undertaking training in courses in information security, forensics, softwares, hardwares, ethical hacking could give one an edge over the rest. A bachelor’s degree in engineering or science is very helpful as a science graduate has an overview of all the elements. However, this does not in any way mean that a commerce or an arts graduate cannot take up digital forensics. MOOLAH MATTERS
Digital forensics being a niche field, there is a shortage of professionals. The demand for such experts is high as there has been a tremendous rise in crime through digital communication - among terrorists to other transactions and regular crimes in the digital world. On an average, freshers can expect anything between Rs 12000 and Rs 20000 per month and about 10-20 per cent hike over programmers and 50 per cent over networking jobs. Experienced people in the industry earn very high salaries. Also, as there is a profound shortage of forensic professionals abroad, especially in countries like the UK and the US, salaries there could go up to $100000 too.
INSTITUTE WATCH >> IIIT Allahabad offers it as a masters course >> Acharya Narendra Dev College and Jesus and Mary College under University of Delhi >> Institute of Information Security, Mumbai >> Appin also runs this course as a part of its frontrunner programme at its centres across India. >> Specialised courses are also offered by different companies which have their own software/ hardware products like access data, cellebrite etc. >> Kharey also shares, "Universities across India, like Manonmaniam Sundaranar University (MSU), Tamil Nadu, are also coming up with campus-oriented diplomas in Forensics." >> The fee for these courses is usually pretty steep and one must be prepared to shell out anything between `35000 and `80000 for a six-month course.
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