Microsoft hack update - hacker 'won't be caught'

Security experts have played down the chances of investigators finding the source of the attack on Microsoft's internal network.

Security experts have played down the chances of investigators finding the source of the attack on Microsoft's internal network.

News that the software giant had been hacked broke earlier today, with reports suggesting that some source code had been accessed - a rumour denied by Microsoft. Either way, industry experts doubt if Microsoft or the FBI - which has been informed of the incident - will be able to track down the perpetrator. Mathias Elvang, managing director of Defcom UK, who specialises in anti-hacking security software, said: "I'd be very surprised if they have found the location the attack came from. It's very hard to trace such attacks except in real time. I don't know all the tools the FBI has available, but it depends on what relationship they have with investigators in countries all over the world." It has been reported that the attack came from St Petersburg, Russia, but neither Microsoft nor the FBI will confirm this. According to Elvang, if the hacker was determined not to get caught, he (or she) will have disguised the location by routing the attack via dozens of servers across the world. Elvang also doubted that industrial espionage was behind the hack. He said: "If this was industrial espionage it would not have reached the public domain, a deal would have been reached in private." Aled Miles, managing director of Symantec Northern Europe, agreed, saying: "The internet has no boundaries. Law enforcement across international boundaries is very difficult - the G8 summit is trying to sort this out at the moment. Catching the perpetrators of crimes like these, and getting evidence, is extremely hard." Miles added that despite its unpopularity, the UK's Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill (othewise known as the Snooping Bill) does give law enforcement agencies a chance to catch such criminals. He said there is a need to increase the deterrent to commit such crimes. He also feared that if this became a "data hostage" situation it would be impossible to track the perpetrators down.