The International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants, known as the EC-Council, was founded out of a perceived need to better arm information security professionals after the 9/11/01 World Trade Center attacks. With the growing threat of computer crime, police, government and private organizations alike were in need of resources to properly train and certify their professionals against information security threats. Since its founding, with support from experts from around the world, the EC-Council has grown and now offers a number of training resources and certifications in information security and beyond. The Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator or CHFI certification is just one of the programs created by the EC-Council that has gained world recognition.
An overview of the CHFI certification
The CHFI certification process is a simple one. Although a corresponding EC-Council CHFI course is offered, it's not required in order to take the certification exam. When a candidate does attend the EC-Council's CHFI course, the certification is awarded upon successful completion of the CHFI 312-49 exam which is conducted on the last day of the course.
The EC-Council's course prepares information security professionals to use tools, techniques and methodologies used in detecting hacker attacks and identifying cybercriminals. Top tools and techniques of the forensic trade are covered during the course and test takers are expected to demonstrate mastery of these skills.
According to the CHFI certification brochure, the EC-Council recommends attending the Ethical Hacking and Countermeasures or CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) course before enrolling in the CHFI program. The EC-Council course covers a series of 65 modules that are covered on the exam, a small sampling of which include the following:
- Searching and seizing of computers
- Digital evidence
- Understanding hard disks and file systems
- Image file forensics
- Audio file forensics
Apart from the EC-Council's, a number of resources exist on the Web from a variety of vendors that can help a candidate prepare for the CHFI exam. Candidates who do not choose to take EC-Council's course must complete an eligibility form in order to take the exam.
CHFI certification rewards
The CHFI exam can be taken at Prometric, Pearson VUE, and Prometric Prime testing centers and costs $250, a dollar amount that goes a long way when you consider the job outlook for security professionals. According to the EC-Council, graduates of programs like the CHFI are in high demand and professionals can expect starting salaries of between $85,000 and $120,000. Continuing education requirements exist in order to maintain the CHFI certification.
Professionals of varied backgrounds can gain from CHFI certification including law enforcement personnel, defense and military personnel, systems administrators, and IT managers. With a certification such as the CHFI, an information security professional can feel confident that he or she has achieved what it takes to excel in the field.