Fundamental computer forensics skills

fundamental computer forensics skills

Digital forensics is an increasingly rewarding career path in 2021 and beyond. This article delves into the essential skills required to excel in the field of digital forensics.

6 essential skills you need to pursue a career in digital forensics:

The timing is perfect if you are considering a digital forensics career. Digital forensics is an attractive and lucrative field to pursue in 2021 and beyond. With the increase in cybercriminal activities, the expertise of digital forensics specialists has become vital in tracking down perpetrators and presenting crucial evidence in court proceedings. Cyber attackers utilize a range of digital devices to carry out malicious activities, leading to digital crimes that demand the expertise of digital forensic investigators to crack the case.

In this article, we will explore the essential skills required to become a certified computer forensics examiner. But before we delve into the skill set aspirants need to acquire, let’s briefly understand the roles and responsibilities of a certified computer forensics examiner, also known as a digital forensic investigator.

Who is a Computer Forensics Investigator?

A computer forensics investigator is an individual with a strong grasp of data, forensic, and legal principles and procedures. Those who acquire skills in this field can pursue various roles, such as computer forensics technicians, computer forensics investigators, and cyber forensics experts.

These skilled professionals collaborate with law enforcement to collect and preserve information or evidence from various data sources. Subsequently, the investigator examines systems, computer files, etc., to identify changes, how they were made, and track down the perpetrators.

If you have a passion for analyzing and investigating digital crimes and believe this career is suitable for you, you’re in the right field. The demand for computer or digital forensics experts is expected to grow in the future, as cyberattacks become more complex. Moreover, this field offers numerous opportunities and a wide range of job prospects.

The following section will discuss the basic yet fundamental skills required to embark on your career in this domain.

Top 6 Skills Required for a Digital Forensics Career

Staying up-to-date with the evolving skillset is crucial for those aspiring to pursue a career in digital forensics. This ensures a comprehensive understanding of the flow and techniques employed by digital forensic experts. In the following section, we will delve into six fundamental and crucial computer forensics skills.

1. Technical and Analytical Skills

An individual seeking a career in digital forensics should possess a strong grasp of both technical and analytical skills. Keeping abreast of the latest technologies and operating systems is crucial for effectively analyzing cybercrime and data based on factual evidence. Moreover, honing analytical skills enables one to assess, analyze, and synthesize information based on specific criteria or circumstances, facilitating the evaluation of digital crimes, reconstructing scenarios, and speculating potential motives and outcomes of the crime.

2. Familiarity with Networking Concepts

A comprehensive comprehension of networking concepts is essential for a digital forensics investigator. This knowledge enables them to grasp the various methods through which data is transmitted while gathering digital evidence. Digital forensic investigations encompass more than just analyzing digital devices; they also involve examining networks to identify the root cause of an attack, such as network traffic, server access, LAN, WAN, or MAN connections, and more. As a skilled professional, one must be adept at obtaining data from network servers during the evidence-collection process. Understanding the core concepts of networking is crucial for effectively deciphering data transmission across networks.

3. Strong Communication Skills

Effective communication is paramount, particularly when conveying technical terminologies and procedures to non-technical individuals. This skill becomes especially crucial when explaining the investigation procedure to a judge in court. Digital forensic investigators must be adept at explaining complex technical terms and practices in simple and clear language to ensure the judge fully understands the exact issues and techniques involved without any misinterpretations or alterations. Clear and concise communication is essential in ensuring that all parties involved in the legal proceedings comprehend the intricacies of the investigation.

4. Command Over Cybersecurity Concepts

In the field of digital forensics, a comprehensive understanding of cybersecurity concepts, terms, procedures, and policies is essential. Familiarity with fundamental cybersecurity principles, such as the nature and management of threats, data breaches, vulnerabilities, and various programming languages, is crucial. This extensive knowledge enables investigators to gain insights into the methods that attackers might employ, simplifying the investigation process. With a strong foundation in cybersecurity, digital forensic experts can identify or speculate on the type of attack carried out, significantly aiding the investigative efforts. A solid grasp of cybersecurity principles forms the backbone of a successful and effective digital forensics career.

5. Attention to Detail

Paying meticulous attention to every detail is paramount for a digital forensic investigator. Adopting the perspective of the attacker allows the investigator to gain insight into the methods employed, enabling speculation and analysis of the attack. By carefully scrutinizing the nature of the attack, the crime scene, and the potential motive of the perpetrator, investigators can assess the relevance of different aspects and evidence in the case. Distinguishing between significant and insignificant elements aids in the investigation process and enhances comprehension of the digital crime’s nature. This approach, combined with an investigator’s mindset, proves invaluable in unraveling complex cases and unraveling the intricacies of digital crimes.

6. Aspiration to Learn

Technology is a realm of perpetual evolution. Advancements and breakthroughs will always be on the horizon, leading attackers to refine their methods accordingly. Therefore, a digital forensics expert must possess a willingness to continuously learn and adapt. Staying updated with the latest technologies and evolving attack techniques is essential to comprehend, address, and resolve challenges effectively. Accumulating expertise through experience and knowledge gained over time is crucial in tackling complex cases.

While acquiring fundamental computer forensics skills is vital, formal training in a computer forensics course is equally important to develop these abilities. Analytical thinking and critical reasoning may come naturally, but honing a comprehensive digital forensics skillset necessitates structured education and training. By combining innate talents with formal learning, aspiring professionals can thrive in the dynamic field of digital forensics.

How to Build Digital Forensics Skills

Building a robust foundation in digital forensics requires more than just skills; it demands a structured approach through accredited courses or equivalent programs. Such formal training equips individuals with the necessary expertise and aptitude to excel in the field.

An excellent example of a reputable program is EC-Council’s Certified Hacking Forensics Investigator (C|HFI). This course imparts participants with vital skills and knowledge, laying the groundwork for a successful career in digital forensics. By enrolling in accredited programs like C|HFI, individuals can ensure they receive comprehensive training and stay well-prepared to tackle the challenges of the digital forensics domain.

The program offers comprehensive content covering diverse methods and tools used for conducting thorough investigations. Computer forensics training plays a vital role in acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary to apply these abilities effectively in real-world scenarios.

Upon completing the course, individuals can explore various job roles in the digital forensics domain, such as computer forensics investigator, information security analyst, forensics computer analyst, computer forensics technician, security consultant, and information systems security analyst. Graduates with a computer forensic certification can expect an average salary of $64,900 per year, according to PayScale. This certification adds significant value to your job profile, making it the top choice for entering the digital forensics field.

Are you prepared to tackle the toughest challenges in real-world cybercrime scenarios? Enroll in the C|HFI course and become job-ready.


  • 1. In what typical scenarios does digital forensics assistance become necessary?

The primary situations that often necessitate digital forensics investigations include:

  1. Fraudulent activity carried out using computers.
  2. Cases involving data theft.
  3. Intentional or accidental disclosure of sensitive company data.
  4. Instances of employee abuse or harassment via the Internet.
  5. Industrial espionage incidents.
  6. Criminal activities involving digital devices.
  7. Assessment of damage and recovery post cyber incidents like hacking, ransomware, or malware attacks, among others.
  • 2. What are the different phases of digital forensics investigation?

Five phases that sum up the digital forensic investigation process are as follows:

  • Identification
  • Preservation
  • Analysis
  • Documentation
  • Presentation
  • 3. What are the rules of evidence?

Valid digital evidence in a forensic investigation must adhere to five essential rules to be considered admissible in court:

  1. Authenticity: The evidence must be proven to be genuine and unaltered, ensuring that its origin and integrity can be verified.
  2. Accuracy: The accuracy of the evidence must be established, confirming that it accurately represents the events or information in question.
  3. Completeness: The evidence should encompass the entirety of the relevant data without any omissions that could affect the context or understanding of the case.
  4. Reliability: The methods used to collect and handle the evidence should be reliable and conform to accepted forensic practices.
  5. Relevance: The evidence must have direct relevance to the case at hand, providing pertinent information that can aid in reaching a fair and just conclusion.