Thousands of police officers are receiving specialist cybersecurity training. In response to the unprecedented rise in cybercrime, 80 per cent of police forces across the UK are training their officers to become specialist cyber security investigators. This is the future of policing
A cybercrime scene cannot be approached in the same way as a traditional forensics operation – in which investigators are looking for fingerprints, blood spatters or DNA. The conventional approach has the potential to destroy evidence.
“Back in the day the officers would just turn up, pull the electric supply out of the computer, bag it, tag it and wait for forensic investigation. This could take months before they retrieved meaningful information from the system,” says Phil Chapman, lead cybersecurity instructor at Firebrand Training.
Every week, police officers arrive at centres across the UK to receive cutting-edge cyber security training from veterans typically responsible for training “ethical hackers” and “penetration testers”.
Police follow a unique cybersecurity curriculum, built to align with the unique demands of law enforcement – be it on the front lines or as a digital researcher. Over several weeks, officers are transformed from cyber security beginners to highly skilled cyber investigators capable of capturing volatile cache data and imaging computers.
Their training covers every aspect of information security, from politically-motivated hacking (known as hacktivism) to encryption and cryptography. To better understand and respond to the threat of cybercrime, officers are also learning how to hack. Police get to grips with the entire process of hacking – starting from information-gathering reconnaissance to track-covering by restoring the computer to its pre-attack state. The curriculum even culminates in industry-recognised cyber security qualifications, like EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker.