Classes and Courses in Computer Forensics Overview

Many colleges and universities offer classes in computer forensics for those interested in preventing or solving computer-based crimes. These classes are normally taken as part of a full program leading to a certificate or degree. Read on for detailed course info.

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Essential Information

Computer forensics educational programs are available as undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates. Certificate programs in the field are often designed for those with prior experience or education in a technology-related field. Degree programs can be in computer forensics alone, but some will be in the broader areas of information technology or computer information systems and include a concentration in computer forensics.

These programs will include hands-on laboratory experience using computer forensics tools and performing other related information technology tasks, such as creating an application or administering a network, which requires access for the student to forensics-capable equipment. Many computer forensics certificate or degree programs require a prerequisite course in basic computer science.

Students enrolled in a certificate or degree program related to computer forensics may take courses with topics such as the following:

  • The concept of 'cyberspace' and its composition
  • Hardware and software forensics
  • Technical and cultural aspects of cyber security
  • Digital forensics
  • Forensic data analysis
  • Privacy versus security
  • Ethical considerations

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List of Courses

Computer and Digital Forensics

An introductory course like this is usually the first taken by all students specializing in computer forensics. Enrollees learn about the foundations of computer networks, hardware, software, and security; they also focus on topics such as types of computer crimes, criminal techniques, forensic acquisition, binary coding, operating systems and file systems.

Computer Security Fundamentals

Courses in computer security include topics in software security applications, viruses, common security issues, wireless security, networking tools, computer memory and backup devices. An overview course such as this is recommended for anyone interested in obtaining A+ certification, which indicates the bearer has expertise as a computer support technician.

Network Forensics

Many computer crimes are committed via network attacks, so learning about the intricate ways computers connect with each other is a necessity for anyone interested in digital forensics. In this class, students learn about cyber-terrorism, intrusion detection, infrastructure protection, network surveillance, network reconstruction and Windows and Linux. Certificate programs for computer forensics are typically sequential, and students usually take a class in network forensics after they complete the preliminaries.

Intrusion Detection and Protection

This advanced-level class explores the myriad ways computer forensics experts can detect both external and internal computer system intrusions. Students develop technical and analytical skills and learn to retrace the steps a cybercriminal used to illegally access information through a computer system. They also learn how criminals plan network invasions and attacks and study network surveillance and forensic data collection and analysis.

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