I posted a blog on November 4, 2011 about an “Ethical Hacking Lab” being offered in the Faculty of Engineering and Computing School at Coventry University in the U.K.
Well the concept of training people to deal with cyber crimes seems to be catching on here in the U.S. as well. The Coon Rapids Police Department now has the ability to handle computer forensics investigations.
Officer Bill Michael spent five weeks this summer in Alabama attending a highly-selective National Computer Forensics Institute training course put on by the U.S. Secret Service.
Not only was the institute entirely paid by the federal government, Michael returned with $30,000 in computer hardware and software, courtesy of the federal government to conduct computer forensics.
Michael, a self-confessed computer nerd, is now able to pursue both his passions – police work and computers, he said.
He is a COPs (community oriented policing) officer in the department responsible for dealing with issues and problems in the city’s multi-housing complexes, those with four units or more. But with the new computer equipment in his office at the police department and the computer forensics training under his belt, he is also investigating cyber crime and other offenses involving computers in conjunction with the department’s investigators, Michael said.
According to the National Computer Forensics Institute (NCFI) booklet, the program’s objective is to educate law enforcement professionals in the field of computer forensics and digital handling techniques.
The institute features five high-tech classrooms, a mock courtroom, a computer forensics lab and other meeting and training areas.
“Today’s high-tech environment presents new challenges to law enforcement as cyber criminals exploit computers and the Internet to threaten our banking, financial and critical infrastructures,” the NCFI booklet states.
“Digital and electronic evidence is involved in many cases these days,” he said.
“But computer forensics needs specialized training.”
Michael is grateful to the police department administration for recognizing the importance of computer forensics and allowing him not only to apply for the U.S. Secret Service course, but also to take the training program when he was accepted, he said.
Michael took part in a five-week course, “Basic Computer Evidence Recovery Training,” in which he was given hands-on experience with computer hardware, device imaging solutions, forensic analysis tools, legal issues and report generation as a police officer acting as cyber incident responders and digital evidence examiners.
The first two weeks were what Michael called the “nitty gritty” of how to operate the equipment, then the final three weeks provided the hands-on training on computer forensics techniques and applications, he said.
Being accepted for the institute is not easy. The program is offered nationwide just three times a year and only 24 people can take the course at any one time.
The institute organizers have opened up the program to make it available to all law enforcement agencies in the country, not just a select few as was the case in the past.
In addition, the equipment enables Michael to lift evidence not only from computers, but also digital evidence from phones and GPS units, he said.
The department also has the ability now in-house to provide evidence to the court in such cases as stolen property where the criminals will often use the Internet to try and sell the property, Wise said.
Read entire story@ abcnews