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  • Question for Those Involved With Cybercrime or Computer Forensics

    I am currently studying with Kaplan university for associates and am deciding where to make that emphasis, as I continue onwards with my bachelors. I really don't want to be stuck in the american corporate culture my whole life and want something challenging and unique.

    I recently started thinking about computer forensics and things leaning towards information technology, ie: fighting crackers, etc. I don't really ONLY want to hunt down perverts websites etc, but want to deal with different aspects of cybercrime.

    Can someone invloved in these fields tell me.

    1. Generally what its like and what kind of emphasis I could have?
    2. Is it basically going to boil down to only fightin p0rn?
    3. Forensics vs cybercrime? Which do you and and what pays the best?
    4. When you get involved with this area, like forensics, are the hours better?
    5. Can computer forensics be consider peace officers, liscensed?
    6. Any general advice. I've got the option to do just programming etc, or I can change my degree emphasis towards "computer crime"... better to keep with general computer knowledge?

    A lot of questions, but this is new to me. I suprisingly haven't found a huge amount of web articles or resources on this.

    Thanks!
    Wannabee.

  • #2
    I am not a computer guy, but I have had some contact with them. A large dept. may have officers assigned full time to computer crimes, but small departments will not. A lot of forensics people also work as non-sworn civilians at various crime labs and work the M-F 9-5 schedule. In my limited experience on the subject, a lot of time is spent on child porn, however identity theft, cyber stalking, menacing, etc. are also investigated. If any records are kept on a computer or messages are sent back and forth regarding criminal acts or intentions, a computer forensics person would come into play. If you like accounting (and who doesn't?) you might want to look at an accounting degree as well. These people look at a business' books, tax records, accounts, etc. to see if they are laundering money, evading taxes, etc.

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    • #3
      I belong to my Department's Computer Forensics Team. In our Department we do it as an ancillary duty and not full-time. I do enjoy the work as it's very different from the investigations that I normally conduct, and it's also one of the few things that could really be beneficial to me after I retire.

      If you want to read some good information on Computer Forensics in terms of Law Enforcement check out the the website for the International high Technology Investigators Association (HTCIA) at www.htcia.org or the FBI's Regional Computer Forensics Labratory(s) website at www.rcfl.gov

      As far as the RCFL goes, it's probably the cream of the crop as far as CFT gigs go. Extensive/intensive training, all the cutting edge tools, etc.

      To get on with an RCFL you have to be first employed by a "Participating Agency", and then you Agency has to nominate you for a position in the RCFL. Most RCFL's are staffed by Federal, State, and Local personnel.
      Running is not a plan, running is what you do when a plan fails. -Tremors

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      • #4
        1. Generally what its like and what kind of emphasis I could have?
        I work for an good agency and have been to a number of Computer Forensic classes and conferences. If your department is a member of ICAC, the fed money will pay for training and travel. I enjoy my work, even though I look through CP, it has to be done. Most of my work is prepping a suspect drive to be analyzed ( I wont go into the complex details). It's the technology portion that intrigues me.

        2. Is it basically going to boil down to only fightin p0rn?
        Depends on if you will be apart of an ICAC unit. Typically yes if you are. Some agencies will investigate fraud, homicides, financial crimes, and when a computer is the source, tool, target, or place of a crime.

        3. Forensics vs cybercrime? Which do you and and what pays the best?Forensics is extracting the data from a storage device. Cybercrime is the act of committing crimes through the internet. Forensics is more technical, Investigating cybercrimes is putting a person behind the keyboard. I do both. If you want to make money, go to the private sector and sift through e-mails and detect network intrusions all day.

        4. When you get involved with this area, like forensics, are the hours better?
        Typically 8-5. However, we are on-call 24/7.

        5. Can computer forensics be consider peace officers, liscensed?Yes, Forensics is moving more over to non-sworn and civillian workers. There are no licenses to have to my knowledge in law enforcement. You may have to have one to be a P.I. Although not required, we usually have certifications.

        6. Any general advice. I've got the option to do just programming etc, or I can change my degree emphasis towards "computer crime"... better to keep with general computer knowledge?
        You won't need any programming skills unless you want to write scripts. Back when I was in school, they didn't have computer forensic courses, so I just have a Computer Science degree. Just have a good knowledge of hardware like A+. Going to specialized training courses are very expensive on your own dime, but if you can swing it try enrolling in a EnCase or FTK class.

        Hope this helps.

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