Do matters of identity theft, online scams and hacking interest you? Does mitigating risks and standing up to ever growing challenges tickle your senses? If your answer to all of these is a resounding yes, then look no further than a degree in cybercrime and forensics.
“Digital crime is on the rise in recent times. With Internet use exploding across the world, a forensics specialist can always bring his / her expertise to the table and help both government and business safeguard their interests,” observes Vijay Nair, forensics analyst and risk consultant at KPMG, Gurgaon, who has done a year’s course in digital informatics at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland.
Those interested in studying cybercrime need not have a computer science background. They can read up on basic computer hardware. The UK, and Scotland in particular, offers tremendous opportunities to students from India. “Computer forensics is still a niche area of study in India. Scotland and its universities are a natural choice for those who want to carve a space in this industry,” he explains.
Among a host of courses in cybercrime and digital forensics, the one offered by Strathclyde University, Glasgow, the UK, stands out. Cybercrime is a major area of research at the university’s department of computer and information science.
he fee for BSc ethical hacking and BSc digital forensics for overseas and non EU students is £9975 (Around Rs 9 lakh) per year. (www.abertay.ac.uk /studying/find/ug/digital
forensics, www.abertay. ac.uk/studying/find/ug/ethhaccount)
he fee for computer forensics and ediscovery is £12,250 (around Rs 11 lakh)
he living cost is £8400
(Around Rs 7.5 lakh)
ost of full-time undergraduate courses and full-time postgraduate research courses is £14,800 (Around Rs 13 lakh)
ingle semester courses and part-time postgraduate research courses cost £7,400 (Around Rs 6.5 lakh)
In addition, the department offers an undergraduate course in computer science and cyber law. The Centre for Internet Law and Policy at Strathclyde Law School is home to leading expertise, research and teaching in digital law and policy across disciplines, including law, technology, politics and criminology.
Another institution of repute, which offers a degree in digital forensics, is Abertay-Dundee University in Scotland. Says Ian Fergusson, lecturer in digital forensics at the university, “Abertay University was one of the first in the world to teach subjects like ethical hacking.”
Among a steady trickle of Indian students who made it big in the area of digital crime is Sandeep Srinivasan who decided to pursue a career in a risk management behemoth. The young man from Chennai, who is an associate in the forensic technology and dispute services at Ernst & Young LLP, London, completed his engineering degree from Anna University, Chennai, and headed straight for Gaelic shores.
Says Srinivasan, “Given that we are becoming reliant on computers and digital technologies in our everyday lives, cybercrime puts our globally networked society at risk and so there is a greater need for qualified individuals who are able to investigate and fight computer crime.”
To gain entry to the MSc computer forensics and e-discovery course, students require a 2:1 (upper second-class) honours degree. Like Nair, Srinivasan was drawn to the attractive career option that opened up once he completed the course. “With e-discovery becoming a ground breaking domain for civil litigation support and forensic techniques being used to recover evidence, I am confident that there will be more opportunities in future.”
Although a degree in cyber crime sounds enticing, Nair throws in a word of caution. “There are few scholarships available and there is a strong emphasis on providing jobs to natives,” he says. Adds Srinivasan, “There are various scholarships offered by the British Council and the Scottish government. Living expenses can be covered by doing a part-time job.”
There are several scholarships open to Indian students such as Saltire Scholarships (www.talentscotland.com/Students/Study/Scholarships/Saltire-Scholarships.aspx), Commonwealth Scholarships (http://cscuk.dfid.gov.uk/apply), Inlaks Foundation Scholarship, (http://www.inlaksfoundation.org/ inlaks-scholarship.aspx) and University Trust International Leadership Scholarship. A full list of international scholarships can be found on www.glasgow.ac.uk/scholarships/internationalscholarships