How to Become an Information Security Crime Investigator

Computer forensics is a relatively new industry in the fields of both cyber security and justice. An information security crime investigator will usually work directly for the government but will be able to transition into different industries as they desire.

What Is an Information Security Crime Investigator?

Information security crime investigators may work directly for the police department or Federal Bureau of Investigations. Other investigators may work directly with companies conducting audits of their networks and determining what occurred in the event of a data breach. Some crime investigators work with insurance companies that provide data breach insurance and still others might work in private industry.

The role of a cyber crime investigator is to look through a computer system to determine the point of access, the information stolen and the person responsible for the crimes. Many cyber crime investigators may work with the authorities to determine the source of illegal material or may work with corporations to determine how data was lost and which data in particular was breached. According to O*Net Online, an information security crime investigator will make an average of $52,840 annually.

What Does an Information Security Crime Investigator Do?

An information security crime investigator will often begin by cloning the data on a system. This allows them to analyze the data without affecting it adversely or leaving their own footprints behind. Crime investigators usually won’t do anything on the original system because this could destroy evidence. Crime investigators will look through the system to determine areas the security could have been breached and look for any evidence that could point to the person responsible.

Crime investigators usually have to retain extensive documentation for the authorities. Some investigators work directly with forensics crime labs while others are independent consultants or auditors who are called in during civil matters rather than criminal matters. Either way, the crime investigator will be responsible for thoroughly reporting their findings to the appropriate authorities.

How Do You Become an Information Security Crime Investigator?

There are many degrees available for forensics crime study, especially for programs that have divisions for cyber security and justice. There are Associate’s Degrees in the field, but those who are interested in working for the Federal Bureau of Investigations will need to have a Bachelor’s Degree in computer science. Security crime investigators can also come from those who are already in the field of systems security, though system security analysts and architects are usually paid more than crime investigators.

On the job training is sometimes available to crime investigators but they do need to either have experience or an education beforehand. Many crime investigators will be hired by local police departments. Some other investigators may be hired by private investigation firms or insurance companies, and still others may work in the area of identity theft.

How Does an Information Security Crime Investigator Advance?

A security crime investigator could potentially go into the field of security analysis. Network security professionals have very high wages when compared to other fields of IT professionals. Crime investigators interested in branching into this field will want to consider getting certain types of network and security certification to validate their knowledge.

Crime investigators may also be able to advance by being put on more serious projects or by moving from city police departments to state police departments and from state police departments to federal investigations. Overall, those within the law enforcement agency will follow the same types of promotion structure as others within the justice field.

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