Free «Certifications of a Forensic Analyst» Essay

Certifications of a Forensic Analyst


Computer forensics is an emerging as well as a challenging Information Technology discipline. When the discipline began to rise, the demand for certified and experienced professionals was so high yet certifications remained something of a wild frontier. Today, there exist more than two-dozen high-quality certification programs that are focused on computer forensics and digital investigations. This paper will, however, discuss some of the key forensic analyst certifications that are in high demand.


The International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners (ISCFE) offers a certification known as Certified Computer Examiner (CCE). This certification is one of the key certifications that a professional working in the law enforcement community or the forensic sciences industry must have. Persons with certification can work in the private sector as security managers and officers, forensics or security consultants, IT managers and administrators, data and systems security investigators, and even as HR managers and lawyers. Law enforcement officers who are holders of this certification, usually work as forensic analysts, technicians and investigators, and the carry out official investigations to prosecute cyber crimes. The certification process consists of both a hands-on forensic analysis of several assigned tasks and an online multiple choice exam (MCQs). For one to be certified a minimum score of 80% is required for the practical exam and 70% for the MCQs (Zhijun & Ning, 2009).

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The Computer Hacking Forensic Investigators (CHFI) V8, is offered by the Council of E-Commerce Consultants. This certification is famous for its specialty in the areas of penetration testing, anti-hacking and computer forensics (Hinson, 2007). The certification places emphasis on the forensic tools, analytic techniques and procedures involved in the acquisition, maintenance and presentation of forensic data and evidence in the courts. The EC-Council provides an in-depth training and offers the eventual exam but allows candidates to take the exam without undergoing the course. Candidates who have not undertaken to train at the institution must have a two-year experience in information security plus an educational background in the field. 

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The Certified Forensic Computer Examiner (CFCE) certification is provided by the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists organization. To be a member of the organization, one must be employed as law enforcement officer, but associate membership can be granted to retired law enforcement officers and persons who are fully contracted to law enforcement organizations (Tu, Xu & Balan, 2012). Full-time students (in an accredited school) and already practicing forensics practitioners can apply for associate membership to the IACIS, as long as they pass a background check. One must undergo a two-stage testing process including peer review and CFCE certification testing for one to be certified. A passing score of 80% is required for both tests. A mandatory 72-hour training that is focused on CFCE core competencies must be undertaken by a prospective candidate. This credential is costly to obtain but is highly valuable in the computer forensics field.

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The Global Information Assurance Certification Program offered by SANS offers the GIAC Certified Forensic Examiner and Certified Forensic Analyst (the GCFE and GCFA respectively).  The former course is the intermediate while the latter is an advanced course. Both courses focus on computer forensics in the sphere of incident response and investigation.  By extension, they also focus on the skills and knowledge required to collect and analyze data from the Linux and Windows operating systems. For candidates to pass they must exhibit the requisite skills to carry out formal incident investigation and advanced incident handling. These skills include dealing with data breaches, persistent threats, Building and documenting digital forensic cases and comprehension of anti-forensic techniques (Lim, 2008).

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The above discussion has majorly focused on the most sought-after forensic analysts certifications.  The ones that have been discussed include the CCE, CHFI V8, CFCE, GCFE, and GCFA (Tittel, 2015). For a candidate to obtain any of them, a high level of skill and knowledge must be demonstrated because they are rigorous and test on both the theoretical aspects as well as the practical aspects.

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