IT has engulfed our lives so much that most of our daily activities are dependent on it. And with so many people using it as part of their lives, it has also emerged as a means for criminal activities. It is not just an individual who is threatened by illegal activities in cyber space, but even an entire country's security could be at risk. For instance in 2008, there was news that the email system of the Indian Prime Minister's Office was affected by a computer virus for three months, and upon investigating it was revealed that its computers were being remotely controlled. One might also recall the 2006 train bombings in Mumbai, where terrorists used advanced techniques such as IP address masking for funds transfer and other communications.
Most terrorists groups now communicate through masked IP addresses and use proxy services so that their activities become hard to trace. To make matters worse, there are always cases where sensitive data has been stolen through a network attack or identity theft. It is in such cases that a cyber forensic expert dons his gloves to follow the digital trail left by criminals and helps bring perpetrators of such criminal activities to justice.
Why society needs Cyber Forensics pros
Cyber Forensics is a new and developing field, which can be described as the study of digital evidence resulting from an incidence of crime. The science involves the investigation and a computer to determine the potential of legal evidence. It helps create preventive intelligence and threat monitoring besides post incident investigations. The growing spectre e-commerce and web-based business transactions has changed the way white- collar crime is committed. Enterprises have become increasingly concerned about the use of computer networks for corporate spying and other similar threats. In addition, extraordinary risk factors such as terrorism in India are also witnessing a strategic change from an operational perspective. India, like elsewhere, is also witnessing an exponential rise in the number of frauds done through computers and IT systems.
From the government's perspective, cyber security has become as important a parameter for national security as physically safeguarding the nation's borders. In fact, there exists a critical dependence of various industries and business sectors on the government-controlled IT infrastructure and networks. And if any vulnerability is attacked by terrorists, it can be disastrous for the country's corporates and businesses. For instance, the banking sector's inter-bank financial settlement process is based on a centralized IT infrastructure that's managed by RBI, and any disruption in the system can cause tremendous loss to the sector. Such high IT dependence is also present in national assets like oil and gas networks, national stock exchanges, railways, air traffic controls, etc. Such systems are prime targets for hackers as well as terror organizations to cause severe business and economic losses to the country. This has further escalated the need to have Cyber Forensics experts in India to preserve country's IT assets against operational and reputation risks. Thus, Cyber Forensics professionals are not just required by enterprises for their information security, but also by government agencies to keep track of nation's cyber security and preserve it from malicious attacks.