NYC to open new Cybercrime lab

A New York Times story “Manhattan Prosecutor to Centralize Efforts Against Cybercrime” brings news of an expansion of the City’s anti-Cybercrime effort.

From the story:

The Manhattan district attorney’s office on Tuesday announced plans for the construction of a cybercrime lab, which will centralize efforts to target crimes and criminals involving the use of technology.

The lab, to be housed in the district attorney’s office, will be staffed by about 50 current employees, including computer forensic staff members, specialized prosecutors, analysts and investigators.

The City Council provided about $4.2 million to pay for construction of the lab, said the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., at a news conference on Tuesday at City Hall, where he was joined by the City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn.

Ms. Quinn said, “In this day and age, we need to be as sophisticated as criminals are, using every tool we can to fight these complex crimes that are often taking place on the Internet — the new crime scene of the modern age.”

The facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2013 and will expand on the efforts of the Manhattan Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau, which currently handles much of the forensic analysis of cellphones, smartphones, computers and other electronic devices.

Holding up a bank card scamming machine that criminals use to steal credit card information from A.T.M.’s, Mr. Vance said the device was one example of the kind of technology that is increasingly being used to commit crimes.

The district attorney’s office said it sees about 200 to 300 new identity theft cases in Manhattan every month, and the number of computers analyzed in criminal cases rose by 195 percent from 2010 to 2011.

“Our office, in order to do its job, needs to stay ahead of the curve,” Mr. Vance said. “Things are happening at Internet speed. As we figure out how to combat individuals who are utilizing this type of relatively unsophisticated but nonetheless tricky and effective trickery, they’re moving onto something else.”