A cybercrime investigator is one whose main aim is to gather information through various technological solutions that can be utilized for checking illegal activities on the internet or cyberspace. Various crimes across the globe are getting committed via the web and cybercrime investigators are responsible to gather crucial data and information to initiate and scrutinize the crimes. Although cybercrime investigators have and use many of the crucial skills like data forensics, and aim at resolving the offense which occurs by utilizing the web as a fundamental medium. Cybercrime investigators are responsible for discovering cyber-attacks made by potential hackers or terrorists. Cybercriminals are a serious threat to the entire digital space. Cyber-attacks are becoming smarter, menace and dangerous with the time. With every passing minute, cyber enemies are the threat to network whether it is public or private.
Attackers attack companies for getting their secrets related to trade and other confidential data, while educational institutions get attacked for individuals R&D. Hackers (or identity thieves) rob people and cybercriminals rob young people. The chances to collect and restore digital data will be crucial for the successful execution of cybercrimes.
Pathways of Becoming Cybercrime Investigator
Becoming a cybercrime investigator requires a combination of both education and experience. It should be a combination of education and experience or cyber security and investigation.
Career Path – The general path of career related to a cybercrime investigator depends upon various years of working experience in the internal team of the cybersecurity department. A good understanding of cybersecurity protection equips candidates with a foundation to understand how cybercriminals react in different situations. Applicants who work with sincerity help them in getting the skills based on investigative tasks in the industry.
Education- A degree in Criminal Justice or Cyber Security is required to be eligible for the role of Cyber Crime Investigator. Well, few colleges offer an associate degree of two years enabling cybercrime investigators’ aspirants to shift up their four-year college degree to a bachelor degree. It is also desirable to have a degree in computer science to work as a cybercrime investigator.
Experience- Since the knowledge base is needed for being a successful cybercrime investigator, well in many aspects, multifunctional in many ways, this is the most suitable position for an experienced cybersecurity or criminal investigation professional. Even if one graduates from college with one of the above undergraduate degrees, candidates are unlikely to have the necessary experience in cybersecurity or investigations. Experience in this area allows, in addition to skills in cybersecurity or otherwise, to add solid knowledge of investigative principles and practices.
Professional Certifications- While a career as a cybercrime investigator does not require industry-specific professional certification, two certifications fit perfectly as a desirable qualification. The Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP) illustrated that the candidate has a good knowledge related to security management, network engineering and architecture.
Who is a Cybercrime Investigator?
Cyber-crime investigators are professionally trained and highly skilful investigators. These investigators have the skills required to uncover modern day cybercrimes, no matter if it is in the private sector or public. There are the loss of dollars and dollars’ every year in system repairs that are impacted by cyberattacks. Cyberattacks directly hit the crucial systems impacting work at banks, hospitals, emergency canters, education institutions and so on. The cybercrime investigator here collects the data mandatory to investigate these attacks and stop cybercriminals from attacking the system again.
Skills required for being a Cybercrime Investigator
It is a multi-dimensional profile as it involves utilization of methodologies and cybersecurity skills to properly collect and store evidence for later research and investigation. It is significantly crucial to have working capabilities in a cross-jurisdiction and multi-jurisdiction environment. A significantly crucial element of cybercrime is it is non-local in nature. Illegal activities can occur anywhere across the globe and on large distances. This brings up the challenge at a larger level for cybercrime investigators as such crimes usually need cooperation on a global level.
Tasks of Cybercrime Investigator
Usually most of the cybercrime investigators work for businesses especially financial organizations, consultancy firms and enforcement agencies. Moreover, cybercrime investigators can also get hired as an white hat hackers or as freelancers. In this position, the researcher, although often providing penetration testing (pen testing), is responsible for investigating the security strengths of a particular network or digital system. The goal is to find threats in the security loopholes that can be utilized by actual attackers.
The digital evidence must get catalogued and recorded once collected by cybercrime investigators. Evidence is also used to make reports and is also presented in court. All of them can be the tasks of cybercrime investigators.
Job Description: Cybercrime Investigator
Intelligence or law enforcement investigators can investigate a variety of crimes, Cybercrime investigators are experts whose main focus is primarily on cybercrime or web-based crimes.
Cybercrime investigators investigate various crimes, from restoring computer file systems to investigating hacked or malicious crimes against children. Moreover, cybercrime investigators extract data from computers that can be used to prosecute crimes. After gathering the crucial electronic evidence, cybercrime investigators create a report which is then present in court.
Cybercrime investigators can also work to check existing security systems for large corporations. Investigators use various means to hack the company’s computer network.
Below are the responsibilities of Cybercrime Investigator:
- Ability to collaborate with a team for work.
- Collecting evidence.
- Testification in court.
- Compliance of law on cyber based issues.
- Suggesting methodologies to preserve and present evidence.
- Gathering hidden information.
- Cyber-attack reconstruction.
- Work in a multi-jurisdictional or inter-jurisdictional environment.
- Preparation of expert opinion on very complex technical issues.
- Provide advice to customers, managers and so on.
- Collection of network data and system information.
- Recovering corrupted or destroyed data.
- Recover encrypted passwords/files.
- Assess application software, network and security vulnerabilities.
- Analysis of network and computer systems after cyber-crime.
- Preparation of expert reports, affidavits and letters.
- Constant update in cybersecurity and investigative skills via time-to-time training.
Cybercrime Investigation: Certifications to pursue
Since cybercrime investigation is a constantly evolving field, the best IT professionals receive lifelong training. The certificate allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of the latest developments in cybercrime investigations.
To stand out in the career it is necessary to have few certifications along with your degree:
Here are some of the most common cybercrime investigator certificates:
- Ethical Hacker Certificate (CEH)
- Certified Forensic Analyst by GIAC
- Computer Examiner Certification (CCE)
- Analyst in Reverse Engineering Certification (CREA)
- Examiner for Computer Forensics Certification (CCFE)
- GIAC Incident Handler Certification (GCIH)
Because a certificate in this industry is core technical, it will be more crucial than anything else for your career and the field in which you work.
Cybercrime Investigators: Outlook
Due to the rapid and huge adoption of computers in the USA, Americans are the earliest ones who have suffered in large part by cybercrime. However, in the 21st century, there is hardly a community in the world that is not affected by one form of cybercrime or another. Today, the cybercrime investigators’ requirement is global and growing rapidly. There is no sign that the search for cybercrime investigators will slow down any time soon.
Increased online criminal activity, such as identity spam, email fraud, digital theft and copyrighted material illegal downloading, is boosting the cybercrime investigator’s requirement. Demand for cybercrime investigators is expected to be excellent.
Cybercrime investigators: Salary
According to the report published by The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual median salary for information security analysts, which is the near profile of a cybercrime investigator, is $103,590 in 2020. While the annual median salary of police and detectives is $67,290 in 2020. Employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 33 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations, as per the BLS estimates.
Other sources suggest that career growth will be at least 22 percent (projected growth rate for private detective work) and possibly more than 27 percent (projected growth rate for computer support jobs).
The investigator’s role can be very gratifying if you have fascination about the occurrence of cybercrimes. It is too indeed a fact that this work has complications in itself but is also exciting along with benefits like having the opportunities to make the web a safer place. It is certainly not easy to be in this domain and it might take years to be a part of this field as per your expertise. Check out the training related Cybersecurity certifications like Certified Ethical Hacking Training we at Vinsys offer digitally, if you are aiming for this field.
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