The Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec) and the College of Policing (CoP) have marked the independent launch of the Institute of Cyber Digital Investigations Professionals (ICDIP), a professional organisation to benchmark skills and accredit security investigators to increase confidence in cyber investigations and incident response, and give the courts additional confidence in the weight and veracity of evidence gathered in cyber investigations.
Supposedly the first professional organisation of its kind anywhere in the world, ICDIP has technically existed since 2015 but over the past five years was funded through the Home Office as part of the National Cyber Security Programme – to date it has trained more than 700 people.
It was initially established because the lack of specialist recognition for cyber investigators meant there were instances where the veracity of legal evidence had been challenged.
The accreditation is designed to measure the competency of security practitioners, allow them to prove their expertise, speed up the professionalisation of cyber investigations, and give confidence than evidence presented during legal proceedings comes from an authoritative source.
Ultimately, say the scheme’s backers, the aim is to improve trust in digital evidence, give greater weight in court cases, and secure fair convictions, with the ambition that the ICDIP accreditation becomes accepted as providing evidence of the same standing as an expert witness.
Sarra Fotheringham, policing standards manager for digital and cyber at the College of Policing, said: “The growing importance of cyber digital investigation skills in policing meant there needed to be both a standards framework and accreditation to measure them.
“Using the framework to validate competency assures that we have highly competent and capable individuals conducting specialist cyber and digital investigations,” she said.
CIISec CEO Amanda Finch added: “Measuring skills and competency through accreditation is vital in all factors of cyber, and investigation is no different. The growth of cyber crime, and the increased connection of cyber and digital activities with other crimes, means that a method to benchmark and prove individuals’ skills and reliability as a witness is crucial.”
To gain the certification, cyber professionals will be assessed against the skills and standards framework (SSF) for practitioners and strategists involved in investigating cyber dependent or enabled crime across five core job families. These are investigator, intelligence, interviewer, forensic and analyst, with each job family having various skill categories and membership levels ranging from affiliate to full member.