Forensics involves applying specialized knowledge and techniques to investigate and establish facts in courts of law.  The field of Digital or Computer Forensics, which combines CS with forensics, plays a pivotal role in investigations today, as digitally stored data often provides key evidence. Applying CS principles tol investigations includes, for example, recovering and analyzing data from electronic devices in cybercrime cases, ensuring the integrity of digital evidence for court use, and investigating network intrusions. 

Pathways in CS+Forensics

Incident Responder roles do not require a degree. Other roles at the intersection of CS and forensics tend to require a Bachelor’s degree. The following areas of CS may be particularly beneficial. 

Cybersecurity: Understanding principles of securing computer systems, networks, and data from breaches and attacks. Courses might cover topics like network security, ethical hacking, encryption, and intrusion detection.

Information Security: Focused on protecting information from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction. Courses may include topics on cryptography, security protocols, and risk management.

Data Recovery and Analysis: Involves techniques for recovering data from damaged or corrupted files and analyzing this data for useful information. This can include file systems analysis, data carving, and forensic data-recovery techniques.

Operating Systems: Understanding the inner workings of operating systems is important for forensic analysis, which often involves examining operating systemS-level operations and artifacts. Key concepts include file systems, process management, and memory management.

Cryptography: Deals with encryption and decryption, which is essential for understanding secure communications, protecting data, and analyzing encrypted files in forensic cases.

Database Systems: Understanding database management and structure is important, as investigating and recovering data from databases can be a significant aspect of digital forensics.

Computer Networks: Studying the principles of computer networking, including architecture, protocols, and services, is crucial for understanding how data is transmitted and can be intercepted or compromised.

Careers in CS+Forensics

Forensic Science Technician
Collects and analyzes evidence from crime scenes to aid in criminal investigations. Those who specialize in electronic data aid in investigations by extracting information from digital devices, such as computers, smartphones, and networks, to uncover evidence or trace digital activities.
Network Forensic Specialist
Concentrates on monitoring and analyzing network traffic to detect and investigate unauthorized access and other malicious activities. Related: Information Security Analyst
Digital Forensics Analyst
Responsible for analyzing digital data from various sources such as computers, smartphones, and networks. They recover, preserve, and examine digital evidence for criminal investigations.
Cybercrime Investigator
Specializes in investigating crimes committed on or through digital devices, including hacking, identity theft, and online fraud.
Cyber Defense Incident Responder
Collects key data, such as malware, to prevent and address cyber attacks in an organization. They analyze network alerts and trends in cyber threats, providing support to cyber defense teams. Additionally, they document and share their findings and strategies in reports to enhance overall cyber security awareness and response.
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