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The darker side of being a computer forensics analyst

Discussion of computer forensics employment and career issues.
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Re: The darker side of being a computer forensics analyst

Post Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 1:35 pm

- pbeardmore
I think that there is a broad concensus that, sooner or later, as a forensic specialist, you will come into contact with this type of material at some point. So, what are universities doing to prepare their students as best they can for this event. Does anyone know of any degree courses that include traning on the welfare issues connected with viewing CP?


Fortunately most Universities in the UK already have bean bags to sit on.
_________________
Steve Falkner, Forensic Computer Examiner, London, UK 

steve862
Senior Member
 
 
  

Re: The darker side of being a computer forensics analyst

Post Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:02 pm

Been working for the Canadian Federal Government since 1986 in computers, since 1999 in IT Security and forensics since 2006...seen some startling info in my investigations short of the terrorism stuff but HAVE seen the extremes of porn and child molestation images...
I am able to deal as best I can with this work, being a survivor of chilhood sexual abuse, by focusing on the strength and resolve to make this world a better place by trying to catch the "bad guys", who do this sort of thing, when I have the chance during a case.
Of course, all this said, I relate to the article referred to in this column, about how our soul can be changed by this kind of work, and how we constantly have to keep our brian/mouth connection in check in social environments Smile  

ScharfRJ
Member
 
 
  

Re: The darker side of being a computer forensics analyst

Post Posted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:29 am

Personally I did a degree in medicine for two years and then I transferred to a Digital Security/Forensics degree.

One of the main reasons why I didnt want to do medicine was the fact that every doctor will have to learn (sooner or later) to switch off their emotions and I didnt want to do that. I realized how bad that was when my mother came to visit me while I was studying and while she was staying with me she had a heart attack. While she was at the hospital I wasn’t worried, I wasn’t anxious, I was thinking in medical terms and what was happening and because I used to see people like her every day I wasn’t as worried as I should have been, something felt wrong. I realized I was no longer who I used to be, so I decided to transfer.

If you are exposed to the same thing/material very often, you will lose those strong feeling that you had before. It is the same for other careers as well.

When I was much much younger I always used to ask myself "how can porn director/photographer/producer do their job? do they not get excited while directing? " but it is the same, when you see it every day it is nothing special, it is same as yesterday even if that thing is really horrible or wonderful.

This applies everywhere else, so if you want to keep your strong feelings about something or feelings for that matter of fact, then try not to get exposed to it very often.  

Ranj
Member
 
 
  

Re: The darker side of being a computer forensics analyst

Post Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:51 pm

Wow, this was a really telling piece. You think you know what the computer forensic examiner has to go through, but it's different when someone from the inside actually gives you the low down. I'm thinking of entering this field and it has certainly been an interesting and informative read about the emotional impact of the job.  

ncarmona
Newbie
 
 
  

Re: The darker side of being a computer forensics analyst

Post Posted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:26 pm

When I was in the interview for my first CF job (LE) I was asked that "How do you think you will handle Child Exploitation Material?" question and I gave the honest response "I've never been exposed to it before so I don't know". They accepted this answer, but then this was back in 2005 and there wasn't and still isn't much formal training in CF in Australia so they don't really expect new recruits to know exactly what they are getting in to. They accept that you learn on the job and they did supply a 6-monthly chat with a psychologist.

When I moved to the UK I moved to corporate and am now back in Pseudo LE but mainly fraud. So I was only working with CEM for about 2 years. The reason I stopped working in that environment though is because I moved across the world and I am not eligible to work in LE in the UK just yet.

If I am truthful, of course I am glad to not be exposed to the nasty stuff anymore but thankfully for me I believe I did develop the callouses and was able to seperate work from home life. (mental filter still had to come into play in social settings but that's mostly not necessary anymore)

So I would not rule out doing LE work again purely on the CEM basis because as others mentioned there is a certain satisfaction in putting the bad guys away and god knows that was the only thing that allowed my mum to be comfortable with what I was seeing at work!
_________________
_________________________________________
The only people who find what they are looking for
in life are the fault finders. 

kiashi
Senior Member
 
 
  

Re: The darker side of being a computer forensics analyst

Post Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:46 am

- pbeardmore
Does anyone know of any degree courses that include traning on the welfare issues connected with viewing CP?


I am in my second year of a CF degree and viewing CP has only been mentioned on a couple of occasions. All that has been said is that should we come across such material in the future then our employers would help us deal with it. No advice has been given to us by university staff, they have merely said that only a handful of us would ever view such content.

I'm of the generation who has grown up with the Internet through their late teenage years, and most of whom would believe that they desensitized to a lot of things.
But from reading these posts and other articles it would appear that it comes down to the individual, and how well they can manage their work with their emotions.  

5ean
Newbie
 
 
  

Re: The darker side of being a computer forensics analyst

Post Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:05 am

I work for a manufacturing corporation. Not only do I do Incident response cases, I also deal with policy violations and other HR related complaints.

One of the things that I quickly realised is that as much as I would like to deny it, the employees of my company are really a subset of the population at large. We have good employees and bad employees. I have investigated theft that brought in Law Enforcement, porn (lots of porn) including possible child porn (also involved LE) as well as more banal stuff like "Joe Blow spends too much time on the Internet".

What makes it difficult is that sometimes I know the individuals. That combined with the specifics of the case can be particularly stressful. So far i have been able to deal with it and detach myself from the details.

I have not had to deal with any extreme CP and don't know how I would deal with it if I did. I have the utmost respect and am extremely grateful to those of you that DO deal with the worst of the worst.  

TonyC
Member
 
 

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