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Combating High Tech Crimes ; Harmonizing and valuing the the work of Cyber Crime Investigators and Digital Forensic Analysts in Law Enforcement.

The trend of cyber crimes is evolving as fast as it has been in the last two decades but now with more people connected. Besides DOS Attacks, Child Pornography and Phishing, today there are much more activities on Internet that only specialized investigators can recognize such as:-

1. Cyber-based terrorism,
2. Espionage,
3. Sex offenders targeting minors using Identity Theft
4. Computer network intrusions,
5. Online dating to attack vulnerable people
6. Scams driven by ‘’ransom-ware’’ install easily, locks computers, and demands payment
7. Other cyber fraud – e.g using newest tricks to get bank credentials.
8. New types of Internet Scams with intent to commit fraudulent acts.
9. Money laundering activities

Whilst more and more crimes are being committed using latest technology, the need of Cyber crime Investigators and Digital Forensic Experts in Law Enforcement is becoming very important for search and seizure, acquisition of evidence media and for giving evidence in court of law.

Enacting Cyber Laws alone is not sufficient. Law enforcement should create the capacity to handle cyber crimes.

Law enforcement officers are known for the plurality of knowledge and working abilities to attend to different types of tasks that might be expected from them. However with the emergence and development of Information Technology so rapidly in the last two decades, many Law Enforcement organizations that have engaged in capacity building to combat computer crimes and cyber crimes realize that Cyber crime investigators and Digital Forensics Analysts are people that require lot of IT Skills, as well as specialists in the domain of computer forensics to do the work. They are the rare birds in the departments that should be identified successfully before being put on track to develop the right skills to do the job. Very often inmates with long years of service have turn up with a blend of traditional investigative skills and high tech crime investigation knowledge through learning and using innovative technologies.

In little time, we have seen that there are multiple types of devices that are connecting to the internet, and this has resulted in segregation of tasks within the digital forensic department where now these experts are becoming specialist in Network Forensics, Computer Forensics, Mobile Device Forensics (Smart Phones / Mobile phones), and Video Forensics ( for CCTV images/ sounds etc..). They are all focusing on the retrieval of evidence beyond reasonable doubt to build up a case.

Different training / certifications are also available making the candidates a subject matter expert that is recognized. However the Certification exams eligibility demands for a certain minimum qualification in Computer Science. In developing countries it is not easy to have such potentials in the department unless the organization put in place a scheme. As regards certification, where there is no scheme in the department to help those interested in taking computer forensics certification exams which is quite costly, the financial constraints cause a gap in achieving such certification.

Nowadays Police Departments or any other Law enforcement entity can only operate efficiently to attend to cyber crimes and any other type of crimes where computers and other digital devices are used only if they have in place a proper Digital Forensic Lab, and a good team of Cyber Crime Investigators and Digital Forensic analysts.

The Council of Europe and the European Union Global Project on Cyber Crime have published a “Specialized Cyber Crime - Good Practice Study” Document on internet , the purpose of which I believe is to set examples to Countries / Law Enforcement Authorities that have not yet realized the importance of having such a structure, which would otherwise be detrimental to their own law enforcement work and reputation.

Two things that are important to address in this respect are :

1. Provide necessary training to Law enforcement officers for investigating cyber crimes.
2. Provide necessary tools ( Hardware and Specialized Software) , which demand an important investment for the investigators to do the work.

Besides providing these facilities, to retain and motivate such investigators the job should be valued within the organization as it is a new category of skill (a hybrid investigator with high tech skills) where qualifications, knowledge and expertise coupled with investigative skills are require.

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