Walaika Haskins, enterprise-security-today.com
At a High Technology Crime Investigation Association event on
Wednesday, Microsoft announced plans to launch a Web site that will
aid police in investigating Internet crime.
Analysts say the move should resonate with the law enforcement
community as a valuable crime-fighting tool. The announcement comes on
the heels of the FBI's Microsoft-aided investigation into the origins
of the ZoTob worm, which crippled business across the U.S. last month.
"Over the past months, cybercrime has gone from casual to malicious to
criminal," said Joe Wilcox, a senior analyst at Jupiter Research.
Poised for Battle
Planned resources for the site include online training sessions on how
to conduct Internet investigations, extract information from hard
drives and trace an IP address back to its source to identify Web site
owners. The portal also will offer information on recently passed
legislation related to Internet crime.
Analysts say that Microsoft's enormous resources and intimate
knowledge of its software prompted the creation of the Web
portal. Given Microsoft's recent focus on security and its in-house
taskforce of roughly 50 investigators, some analysts see the new
portal as a win-win for the company, its users and law enforcement.
According to Wilcox, everyone wins when industry is cooperating with
law enforcement. "This is a way for Microsoft to give back to its
customers," Wilcox said. "After all, who knows Windows better than
But other experts are bit more skeptical about casting Microsoft as
some sort of Lady Bountiful. They suggest the new portal might simply
be a cry for attention.
"[It's] tough to say at this point how much of this is really more
than a public relations exercise," said Phil Hollows, president of
Open Service, a security-solutions developer. Hollows pointed out that
the impact of such a Web site probably would be minimal for local law
enforcement agencies that do not have the funds to secure dedicated
I.T. resources and track down Internet criminals.
Hollows added that, although the smaller agencies will not be able to
take advantage of the site, larger metropolitan forces will benefit
because the site will help them consolidate their current knowledge
and expertise with formal training.
But Hollows warned that businesses and consumers should not expect to
see a significant drop in Internet crime. This move, he said, only
will serve to help law enforcement agencies analyze Internet crime but
do little to reduce or prevent it.
Copyright 2005 NewsFactor Network, Inc.
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