How Are Cybersecurity and Computer Forensics Related?

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In today’s world, we all rely on electronic devices. From computers to tablets to mobile phones, your work, contacts, and personal information are always at your fingertips. Unfortunately, your personal data can easily fall into the wrong hands, which is why cybersecurity and computer forensics are so important. While both specialties aim to protect digital data, cybersecurity attempts to protect you before an incident while forensics is all about finding out what happened in the event of an attack so it doesn’t happen again.

What Are Cybersecurity and Computer Forensics?

You’re probably familiar with the term cybersecurity. It is the field that is dedicated to protecting anything you do online. That may mean what you type into your laptop or text to a friend. But it also means what you order online or pay for at a retail store with a credit card. Cybersecurity is what protects you from a data breach or theft. Computer forensics, on the other hand, focuses on the analysis and investigation of data breaches after they’ve occurred.

How Cybersecurity Prevents Attacks

If you worked in cybersecurity, you’d be on the first line of defense. Your goal would be to fortify your computers, networks, software, and systems so well that no cyberattack could get through. There are many measures you could take to prevent an incident including:

  • Firewalls—Prevents unauthorized access to a computer network
  • Encryption—Secures your data using a code and a key
  • Antivirus—Scans your computer for malicious attacks and regularly updates to block new attempts
  • Antimalware—Detects and removes spyware

How Computer Forensics Works After an Attack

Forensics analysts are important members of the cybersecurity team. You can think of computer forensics analysts as digital detectives. They retrace the hacker’s digital footprints to determine who they are, where they’re from, and how they broke into a system. They also attempt to retrieve lost data and repair any damage that may be been done to the system. They can work closely with law enforcement during their investigations and the evidence that forensics teams document can be presented in court.

There are different types of computer forensics:

  • Network Forensics—You’ll use firewalls and intrusion detection systems to monitor and analyze the traffic on your network to find out who used it and when.
  • Data Forensics—You’ll sift through information databases to see if any data were altered or removed, and to find out when the database was hacked.
  • Malware Forensics—You’ll investigate the suspicious and malicious code behind Trojan horses, viruses, and ransomware.
  • Mobile Forensics—These days, so much is done on mobile devices. You’ll analyze them to find out how they were hacked and what information was taken.

Just as cybersecurity analysts test firewalls and security systems for weaknesses, computer forensics analysts use a variety of methods to investigate cybercrimes. They perform live analyses of the operating system while it’s running; they cross-compare computer drives to find the information they need, and they hunt for traces or fragments of deleted files and folders. Once they find all of the evidence they need, they can attempt to recover the data—and bring the cybercriminals to justice.

If digital detective work sounds like your dream job, contact Charter College today. We offer an Associate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity that will teach you how to protect and respond to digital risks and threats and get you ready for entry-level work in the field. Classes are enrolling now. Call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to learn more.