Four years and $10 million later, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office has a new in-house cybercrime lab—the first of its kind within a local prosecutor’s office in the U.S.
The 17,000-square-foot facility was funded with $4.2 million in City Council earmarks, and approximately $5.8 million from monies seized by the DA’s office in asset forfeiture criminal cases.
“A state-of-the-art cyber lab is an investment in 21st-century crimefighting and a demonstration of my office’s capacity to handle complex local, national and international cybercrime investigations,” said District Attorney Cyrus Vance at the grand opening Wednesday. “Nearly every crime against Manhattan residents and institutions involving digital evidence will engage the resources and expertise of this lab. New York City is better equipped than ever to combat the rising tide of cybercrime and identity theft.”
The new facility will house more than 75 full-time staff members, including assistant district attorneys assigned to a specialized investigative bureau focused on cybercrime and identity theft, NYPD investigators embedded within the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and multiple teams of analysts, including cyber intelligence analysts, forensic analysts and cell site analysts.
The cyber lab itself, which measures approximately 2,200-square-feet, features a specially constructed radio frequency shielded room, an instrument designed to handle electronic devices that contain biohazardous matter, and workstations for analysts tasked with performing forensic analysis of digital media and devices, including cell phones, smartphones, computers and other electronic storage devices.
In addition to the facility’s technological upgrades, the building itself will also play an important role in future cybercrime cases by providing a central location for prosecutors, analysts, investigators and forensic specialists to co-locate, thereby increasing efficiency.
The new lab is part of the District Attorney’s Office’s Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau and High Technology Analysis Unit. According to Fortune, the district attorney’s office estimates that more than a quarter of its 100,000 annual cases involve digital evidence, or data stored on devices—and Vance believes this is only the beginning.
For more, read this article from Fortune, who received an exclusive tour of the lab shortly before it opened this week.