The International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners (ISFCE)

by Joleyn Smithing, ISFCE

The International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners (ISFCE)is dedicated to the advancement of the science of forensic computer examinations. Established in 2002, the ISFCE began as a result of the efforts of Mr. John Mellon. A seasoned forensic examiner and a pioneer in the field, Mr. Mellon received forensic training in 1991 with the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists. After becoming actively involved with establishing forensic standards for law enforcement and gaining unparalleled experience in computer forensic education, Mr. Mellon took his clear vision for high ethical standards and founded the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners.From its inception, the purpose of the ISFCE has been to:

– Professionalize and further the science of computer forensics

– Provide a fair, uncompromised process for certifying the competency of forensic computer examiners

– Set high forensic and ethical standards for forensic computer examiners

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– Conduct research and development into new and emerging technologies and methods in the science of computer forensics

The ISFCE created a certification designed to certify forensic examiners based on practical demonstration of forensic examination skill, overall knowledge of technology and forensic practice and an agreement to uphold a strictly defined code of ethics and professional responsibility. This certification is available to all who qualify, including both law enforcement and non law enforcement personnel.

The certification came to fruition in 2003, when the first Certified Computer Examiner (CCE) was awarded.Now based in Brentwood, Tennessee, the ISFCE administers the CCE certification internationally. The CCE certification is non-operating system specific and vendor neutral. Certification testing focuses on whether the examiner uses sound evidence handling procedures and sound forensic examination procedures when conducting examinations and includes the actual examination of media. The certification testing encompasses a broad range of base forensic examination skills including, acquisition, chain of custody, sound examination procedure, rules of evidence, PC hardware construction and theory, data recovery techniques, and presentation of data.

The ISFCE is directed by a Certifying Board consisting of a diverse group of forensic experts that actively oversees the content, execution, scoring and integrity of the certification testing process. The ISFCE structure also includes committees that address ethical standard issues, policy, development and appeals activity.

The Certified Computer Examiner (CCE) has become an internationally recognized certification, certifying over 850 individuals in more than a dozen countries. It has become widely accepted as a prerequisite certification for forensic examiners, recognized by industry professionals and academic institutions alike.

Maintaining the vision of its creator, all who earn the Certified Computer Examiner (CCE) must uphold the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility. The ISFCE investigates all suspected and apparent violations of this code and reserves the right to strip an individual of certification, if code violation is discovered.

The ISFCE is working on expanding its certification offerings with a master certification. Any certifications created by the ISFCE will continue to be vendor neutral and adhere to the established Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility. With a goal of continuing to be a valuable resource to its members and positive force in the field of computer forensics, the ISFCE is looking to become more active at the regional and state chapter level, while furthering its reach internationally to continue to set high professional standards for all forensic computer examiners.

The International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners (ISFCE) website is at

Joleyn Smithing can be contacted at [email protected]

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