The FBI employs Computer Forensic Examiners (CFE) to help Special Agents and other investigative professionals with collecting data from proprietary networks, mobile technology and the Internet. CFEs are employed in one of the FBI’s 16 Regional Computer Forensics Laboratories (RCFL), and they help local, state and federal law enforcement professionals in the apprehension of cyber criminals and terrorists.
RCFLs, in a year, perform the majority of the 4,500 forensic investigations and 600 physical crime scene examinations that the FBI undertakes. CFEs have successfully helped catch and prosecute thousands of criminals including identity thieves, public officials engaging in corruption, child pornographers, corporate saboteurs and economic criminals. They have also assisted in catching terrorists including Christopher Paul who was charged with attempting to use WMDs to attack Europe and the U.S.
CFEs work both domestically and internationally. Because so much communication, economic activity and research now occurs using digital technology, CFEs are essential to the FBI’s operations.
As well as assisting the FBI in solving crimes, CFEs are also responsible for training people in their skills. This ensures a certain standard is upheld in law enforcement when chasing criminals, and also helps at prosecution so that lawyers can submit the highest standard of testimony and evidence to court.
The FBI employs CFEs at an ever growing rate. This is reflective of the increasing amount of crimes involving new technology, that means the FBI needs professionals well versed in data retrieval and other digital skills who can help not only catching criminals, but in developing new security measures.
Job Functions of Computer Forensic Examiner
CFEs have the following responsibilities:
1. Keeping up with new technology and techniques.
2. Getting data out of devices that have otherwise been damages or erased.
3. Training new or returning CFEs on upgraded industry and enforcement standards.
4. Taking intercepted coded communications and deciphering them.
5. Look into developing methods used in cyber attacks.
6. Working with other industry professionals to create new methods for data retrieval and investigation.
Salary for Computer Forensic Examiner
CFEs do not need to be Special Agents, and begin with a pay grade of GS-7 or GS-9, with the possibility to be promoted to GS-12. Starting pay is based on prior digital forensic experience and education, with elite degrees helping with higher pay grades and promotions.