Maryann Goldman has worked as a professional dancer, a fifth grade teacher and as a partner in a Wall Street personnel firm. But all of those professions were just warm-ups for her current role as a Special Agent for the FBI.
Goldman, a Brooklyn native who has worked for the FBI for 21 years, spoke to students in a Forensic Science class at Fox Meadow High School at Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES this week about the growing field of computer forensics. Although Goldman has investigated murders and spent time literally “digging up bodies” in organized crime cases, she said during the past decade her investigations have increasingly relied on information gathered from computers.
“Cyber forensics is about finding information that has been hidden in computers and preserving the evidence as much as possible,” she said. “A computer can be a crime scene and you need to put a tape around it and preserve it just as you would a physical crime scene.”
Computer forensics is a rapidly growing field within law enforcement, business and industry, counter-intelligence and higher education. Using computers, criminals can move money, interfere with communications in government, steal propriety information in business and even plot terrorist attacks.
While a typical computer hard drive might have contained 5,000 pages of information back in the early 1990s, Goldman said, a typical hard drive today could contain 50 million pages of data. As a result, she said the work can be tedious and time consuming but it is also rewarding.
Recently, Goldman said, she completed a four-year investigation into an international money laundering ring that resulted in the recovery of more than $3 billion, which otherwise would have been used for terrorist purposes
Students asked questions about computer forensics and also about what it takes to become an FBI Special Agent. Goldman urged all of the students present to consider a career in the FBI, saying that the bureau needs people from all walks of life with many different skills.
PHOTO CAPTION: FBI Special Agent Maryann Goldman speaks to a Forensics Science class at Fox Meadow High School at Putnam Northern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services.