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Justice Department wants more funds to fight cyber crime
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Growing concern over the increased threat of cyber crime has prompted the Justice Department to request another $37 million next year on top of the estimated $100 million already being spent to combat increasingly sophisticated computer criminals.
Concerns range from attacks on critical infrastructure to major commercial fraud to costly hacking incidents aimed at both the government and private sector.
The budget request, announced this week before the latest hacking incidents, calls for $8.6 million for the FBI to fund 100 "Computer Analysis and Response Team" members who will be dispatched to support investigation into computer related crimes.
Another $2.8 million would be used to develop the FBI's Automated Computer Examination System which is a data forensics tool that scans thousands of files for identification of known format and executable program files.
Officials say the number of cases involving computer forensic examination has more than doubled in the past two years.
Complexity of computer crimes increasing
Assistant Attorney General Steven Colgate released documents to support the new budget increases.
"The incidence and complexity of computer crime continues to increase rapidly as greater numbers of people develop proficiency in manipulating electronic data and navigating computer networks, and as worldwide access to the Internet continues to expand," according to the budget document.
Colgate said the Justice Department seeks to create a permanent network of experts dedicated to preventing computer crime and prosecuting those responsible.
Another proposed budget hike calls for $8.75 million for the National White Collar Crime Center to continue expanding initiatives for state and local law enforcement and regulatory agencies to meet the increase incidence of hacking and other computer crimes.
Justice also is seeking $6 million to develop up to 10 Regional Computer Forensic Labs and support existing forensic labs.
And the department wants Congress to approve $1 million to gather statistics to measure the magnitude and consequences of computer crime.
Other budget increase requests to combat computer crimes include:
Last month, Attorney General Janet Reno promised some of these new steps to combat cyber-crime.
In a speech to State Attorneys General at Stanford Law School, Reno called for improved coordination among the states in the fight against computer crime.
She proposed a round-the-clock cyber-crime network, along with the regional computer forensic labs and a secure on-line clearinghouse for law enforcement to share information about cyber-cases.
Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas and Producer Terry Frieden contributed to this report
Federal Bureau of Investigation - FBI
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