Tales of Justice

The role of Criminal Justice in Computer Forensics

  • Alvernia Criminal Justice

Just in this last year, retailers like Home Depot, Target and others, as well as banks like JP Morgan Chase have been victims of the theft of important customer information through their data networks by hackers. Now more than ever, the role of computer forensics – the growing specialization in the detection and prevention of crime in any dispute where evidence is stored digitally – is a booming career.

The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team discusses computer forensics, and says “from a technical standpoint, the main goal of computer forensics is to identify, collect, preserve, and analyze data in a way that preserves the integrity of the evidence collected so it can be used effectively in a legal case.”

The public and private sectors are investing and prioritizing the need for greater data security, and law enforcement organizations are investing more resources into the acquisition of digital evidence – anything from a teen’s text messages to the metadata timestamp that shows when a case-cracking document was printed. Cyber forensics needs criminal justice students who are advanced in their understanding of the law and their knowledge of computers.

An Alvernia student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with an interest in cyber forensics can take a few career paths. Both government organizations and contracted security companies – like Symantec and FishNet Security, who Home Depot used this year to solve their hacking case – need criminal justice specialists who have firm understanding of the law and the proper handling of evidence so that it can be acquired lawfully and maintained properly.

Graduate school to study computer science is also an option. Program specializing in cyber security and digital forensics are growing all over the country, and programs like the federal Cyber Corps allot scholarships to students pursuing degrees in this field, provided they work a 10-week internship and for the government for two years after graduation.

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