A computer forensics investigator, also known as a computer forensics analyst is an individual who uses various advanced tools to extract, acquire, recover and analyze digital data and information found on technologies such as computers, mobile devices, smart technology and other stores of digital data. There are four main types of digital forensics with the first being computer forensics which is mainly focused on acquiring information from physical computer hardware. Next is mobile forensics which is focused on acquiring data from mobile devices such as smart phones, tablets and wearable technology. Third is network forensics which focuses on gathering information from computer networks. Fourth is cloud forensics which involves gathering data stored and processed in the cloud.
Computer forensic analysts are found in many different organizations from law enforcement, to military and throughout the corporate world. Analysts in law enforcement use their skills to track down criminals by breaking into computers and other devices to find evidence. Analysts in government and military may use digital forensics to uncover threats to national security and to gather information of intelligence value. Analysts in a business setting will use digital forensics for auditing or incident response purposes. Each position involving digital forensics is going to be unique to the organization and the industry it is in.
Those who work as digital forensics analysts are knowledgable in computer science, information technology, cybersecurity methodologies and forensics tools. Much of the work done by a forensic analyst involves the use of various advanced software toolkits such as Autopsy to extract and analyze digital information. Learning how to use these tools effectively is essential if you want to work as a digital forensics analyst. Many of the tools on the market do similar functions so even learning how to use a couple of them will translate to other toolkits that you will use during your career.
Whether you want to work in law enforcement or the business world, learning the basic of digital forensics will go a long way as you advance in your cybersecurity career. If you choose to study digital forensics or start off in this field it will serve as a strong foundation for you as a cybersecurity professional.