ICE Cyber Crimes Center Gets Overhaul

Nearly two decades after its launch, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Cyber Crimes Center received its first major makeover.

The Department of Homeland Security cyber forensics lab that played a key role in the Silk Road takedown just got a major upgrade.

On Wednesday, representatives from DHS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement unveiled the overhauled Cyber Crimes Center, a 5,000-square-foot forensic lab in Fairfax, Virginia.

The expanded center will provide ICE investigations with “enhanced operational and training capabilities in order to meet the growing cyber mission of the agency and increasing workload of criminal cases with a cyber nexus,” according to the agency’s press release.

Since it first came into use nearly two decades ago, the facility had only ever received minor physical upgrades.

The Cyber Crimes Center, or C3, is responsible for providing technology services to support local, state, federal or international law enforcement agencies in cyber investigations, including intellectual property theft and child exploitation through the Internet.

The investigations conducted in the facility have played important roles in such successful cases as infiltrating so-called “dark web” marketplaces, such as Silk Road and Black Market Reloaded. It also helped shut down a huge child pornography website, which had over 27,000 subscribers.

The center houses the Cyber Crimes Unit, Child Exploitation Investigations Unit and Computer Forensics Unit, according to its website.

“The development of this expanded Cyber Crimes Center provides this great workforce with the facility and tools they deserve to accomplish their mission,” DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in an agency statement.

The Cyber Crimes Center also houses training programs for Homeland Security Investigations' special agents and law enforcement partners, to help improve their ability to tackle cyber crime.

Next year, the new facility will add training in such areas as cyber smuggling and network intrusion investigations.