How to Become a Cyber-Investigator

Earn a certification in computer forensics

Security control room. Getty

Cybercrime is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the country, and the need for computer forensics is growing right along with it. Knowledgeable computer professionals who are interested in becoming cybercrime investigators and earning a computer forensics certification have several certification and training problems from which to choose. Some are available only to law enforcement officers, while some are suitable for computer professionals new to the cybercrime field.

Computer Forensics Certification Programs

  • FBI Cyber Investigator Certification: The FBI offers a CICP certification to law enforcement first responders. Designed to reduce errors by strengthening the investigative skills specific to cybercrime, this course increases first responders' technical knowledge. The 6+ hour course is available online to all federal, state and local first responders.
  • McAfee Institute Certified Cyber Intelligence Professional: The McAfee Institute's CCIP 50-hour online and self-study class covers how to identify persons of interest, conduct timely cyber investigations and prosecute cybercriminals. Classes cover cyber investigations, mobile and digital forensics, e-commerce fraud, hacking, intelligence gathering, and legal fundamentals. This certification was developed in conjunction with the Dept. of Homeland Security's National Cyber-Security Workforce Framework. Prerequisites: Education requirements and experience in investigations, IT, fraud, law enforcement, forensics, and other topics are listed at the website.
  • EnCE Certified Examiner Program: The EnCase Certified Examiner Program offers certifications for cybersecurity professionals who want to advance in their specialized fields and who have mastered Guidance Software's computer forensics software. The certification is recognized by law enforcement agencies and corporate professionals. Prerequisites: 64 hours of authorized computer forensic training (online or classroom) or 12 months work in computer forensics.
  • GIAC Certified Forensics Analyst: The GCFA certification deals directly with incident scenarios, computer security and forensic investigations of networks. This is useful not only for law enforcement but for corporate incident response teams as well. There are no prerequisites for the certification, but the candidate should have a strong working knowledge of the topic before taking the 3-hour proctored exam. Topics covered in the exam are listed on the website.
  • Q/FE Qualified Forensics Expert: Not so much a traditional certification as a Cyber Security Certificate of Mastery, this Qualified Forensics Expert training from Virginia-based Security University delivers an in-depth training class with an exam and certificate at the end. The materials included prepare participants to find the cause of attack, compile evidence and handle corporate repercussions. Prerequisite: Knowledge of TCPIP protocols.
  • IACIS CFCE: If you are an active law enforcement officer, the International Associate of Computer Investigative Specialists offers Certified Forensic Computer Examiner. Candidates must be familiar with the IACIS core competencies required for the course, which are listed on the website. The course is intense and takes place in two phases—the peer review phase and the certification phase—over a period of weeks or months.
  • ISFCE Certified Computer Examiner: You'll get a full dose of the technical side of data recovery and handling, but this certification stresses the importance of "following sound evidence handling and storage procedures and following sound examination procedures." Self-study materials are available on the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners website. The CCE is earned exclusively through online courses.
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Your Citation
Reuscher, Dori. "How to Become a Cyber-Investigator." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Reuscher, Dori. (2020, August 27). How to Become a Cyber-Investigator. Retrieved from Reuscher, Dori. "How to Become a Cyber-Investigator." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 30, 2023).