The Manhattan, New York, district attorney’s office recently received approval for funding of a new lab that would help it to more effectively fight cybercrime.
The agency will receive $4.2 million from the New York City Council to improve its ability to effectively track down digital clues related to many of its cases, according to a report from the DA’s office. Today, everything from identity theft and financial fraud to violent crimes such as murder has at least some cyber component, and having the ability to better assess issues related to that may be critical for law enforcement officials.
“Cybercrime and identity theft are among the fastest growing crimes in the country,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. “Advances in technology have also changed the way we fight crime. Nearly every case we prosecute — financial fraud, terrorism, even street crimes — depends upon the resources and expertise of my Office’s Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau and its High Technology Analysis Unit.”
The Manhattan Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau will oversee the city’s High Technology Analysis Unit lab, which currently analyzes digital media, but will be able to do so on a far broader scale, the report said. This includes analyzing cellphones, smartphones, computers, storage devices and more. This new lab will also make it easier for other agencies across the city to properly devote resources to other aspects of investigations by centralizing digital forensic efforts.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn noted that this new funding and lab was essential to New York’s ability to keep up with technological advancements that are being employed by criminals and law enforcement alike, the report said. As crimes of all kinds become more complex, having a greater ability to analyze every clue will be critical to closing cases and making the city safer.
Identity theft affects millions of Americans every year, whether they know it or not. This kind of crime can happen in many ways, including phishing scams by phone or email, by a criminal gaining access to consumers’ personal information, and even hacking attacks that can compromise entire computer networks and scan them for critical data. As such, consumers need to do more to protect their information in any way they possibly can.
Image: Bex Walton, via Flickr