Detective Brian Webbe of the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office has completed the required coursework and has been awarded the certification of Certified Forensic Computer Examiner by the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists. The Certified Forensic Computer Examiner certification is one of the most widely recognized and sought after certifications in the discipline of digital forensics. The program’s tool-independent approach to conducting such examinations ensures that certified examiners have a working knowledge of the underlying concepts of digital forensics. It consists of an intensive course of instruction and multiple peer-reviewed forensic computer examinations, culminating with a practical examination and a final written exam, over a period of 6 months.
This certification adds to Detective Webbe’s list of industry-recognized certifications, which already includes several cellular telephone examination certifications such as the Cellebrite Certified Logical Operator and Cellebrite Certified Physical Analyst.
Detective Webbe, a 3 and ½ year veteran of the District Attorney’s Office, has been a police officer for 14 years, and is currently the cybercrime investigator for Monroe County. He conducts investigations of Internet-based crime, with a focus on the investigation of the online sexual exploitation of children. Detective Webbe is also the District Attorney’s Office’s sole forensic computer and cell phone examiner and leads the county’s Digital Forensics program, which provides assistance to other law enforcement agencies in conducting these specialized and highly technical examinations of computers, related media, and cell phones.
In discussing this most recent accomplishment, Detective Webbe has said, “This certification is well respected precisely because it is difficult to attain. It requires the candidate to demonstrate proficiency in not only properly conducting exams in a forensically sound manner, but also in explaining the methodology behind the science, drawing logical conclusions from the evidence recovered, and then explaining the reasoning behind those conclusions in layman’s terms. This isn’t simply a certificate you are given for attending a class, it has to be earned.”
This certification, says Detective Webbe, will further establish him, and the District Attorney’s Office, as an expert in the field of digital forensics, an important fact when presenting testimony in court.
“Digital forensics is, at its heart, a scientific discipline which requires a thorough understanding of how data is stored – and recovered – from computers and cell phones. But being a good forensic computer examiner is more than just finding evidence hidden away inside of a computer hard drive. It requires a thorough enough understanding of the science to be able to explain it to others in a manner that makes sense. Judges, juries, and other cops aren’t normally forensic computer examiners themselves, so the examiner must be able to articulate the meaning behind the evidence so that its relevance to a case is understood by everyone.”, says Webbe.
While this certification was an important step, Detective Webbe says that the pursuit of knowledge and expertise in this ever-evolving field is never ending. “Technology is always changing – improving – and in order to remain relevant, forensic examiners have to continue to improve their skill set and seek out additional training on these new technologies.” To that end, Webbe says he is already lined up to take several additional training courses in the field and is working towards obtaining their related certifications; all in the pursuit of justice.
“This is just another piece of the puzzle in providing the professional law enforcement service that the public expects.”