Microsoft to help police on cybercrime

The software giant is to supply international law-enforcement agencies with artificial-intelligence and data-mining tools
Written by Munir Kotadia, Contributor on

Microsoft is developing analytical tools to help international law enforcement agencies track and fight cybercrime.

Microsoft unveiled the tools development program at the kick off on Wednesday of three days of technical training for Australian law enforcement agencies. The Forensic Computing and Computer Investigations Workshops are designed to help investigators fight crimes such phishing, online child exploitation and money laundering.

Greg Stone, the national technology officer at Microsoft Australia and New Zealand, said the event was part of a global effort to help agencies understand the technologies used to attack businesses, government agencies and citizens. The next step for Microsoft, according to Stone, will be to further develop internal analytical tools to make investigators' tasks easier.

"We are looking at making our internal tools available to law enforcement agencies," Stone said. "I'm not talking about commercial shrink-wrapped products that we would put out onto the market. I am talking about very specialised bits of technology, like artificial intelligence and data mining, that would be safe in the hands of extremely competent individuals".

Security experts are increasingly concerned about the growing sophistication of the technology and techniques used by organised gangs of computer hackers and other criminals.

Stone said the tools were originally used to help Microsoft programmers analyse code as their software was being developed. They are now being transformed into specialist tools to assist in the law enforcement effort.

"As these tools come into fruition, we will place the technology in the hands of law enforcement agencies so they can do the work of catching criminals better and benefit society — it is not just a Microsoft thing," Stone said.

Munir Kotadia reported from Sydney for ZDNet Australia. For more ZDNet Australia stories, click here.

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