(TNS) — Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Wednesday announced the launch of a cybercrime lab in his office to help with the growing threat of cybercrime.
Joining Marshall at a Montgomery press conference was Louis Franklin, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, as well as representatives from the FBI, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations, the Alabama Fusion Center and the Alabama Office of Prosecution Services.
Over the past year, Marshall said, investigators from his office assisted more than 30 law enforcement agencies in cyberinvestigations. Those tasks included unlocking cell phone evidence in homicides, tracking down credit/debit card skimmers, and unmasking criminals behind identity theft cases. Additionally, agents have also helped businesses and local governments recover nearly $1 million potentially lost in cybertheft cases.
"For law enforcement, investigating cybercrime and accessing digital evidence present real challenges. But these hurdles can be overcome when agencies work together to combine expertise and training,'' Marshall said. "The Cybercrime Lab provides cutting edge tools to enable our investigators to more effectively conduct online investigations of criminal activity, ranging from child sexual exploitation and human trafficking to network intrusions and data breaches. Equally important, the Cybercrime Lab will serve as a resource for federal, state and local law enforcement in Alabama seeking assistance in accessing criminal evidence stored on digital devices."
Marshall said his office also has launched a new web link for Alabama law enforcement and operators of victimized payment card systems to report suspected debit/credit card skimming devices. The joint effort conducted by the Alabama Focus Group on Skimming - comprised of the U.S. Secret Service, Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, Alabama Department of Transportation, Alabama Fusion Center, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, Alabama Petroleum Equipment Contractors Association, the Petroleum & Convenience Marketers of Alabama and the Alabama Attorney General's Office - will collect information to be used to investigate and prosecute persons involved in illegal skimming operations in the state.
"Cybercrime is ever increasing and touches most people in some form," Franklin said. "As the level of cybercrime becomes more sophisticated, it is important that our investigative techniques are expansive enough to combat these criminals. This cybercrime lab will give us extra tools in our investigative toolbox to identify and prosecute those cyberoffenders."
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