Microsoft unveils Cybercrime Center to tackle malware, botnets, online child abuse

The new dedicated cybercrime center will be used to fight online malware spreading, intellectual property theft, and other online criminal activity, the software giant said.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor on
Image: Microsoft

Software giant turned de facto private law enforcement unit?

Microsoft on Thursday unveiled its new Cybercrime Center, which it hopes will be a force to preventing some of the worst crime on the Internet, including child exploitation and online botnets.

The hope is that Microsoft, along with other partners, will help to tackle some of the more invasive practices by criminals to improve the end-user experience for home and business users.

The software giant said in a statement the dedicated space on its Redmond, Wash.-based campus will enrich partnerships across industry, academia, law enforcement, and customers — although, in the wake of the National Security Agency's PRISM scandal, the company has distanced itself somewhat from the federal government — in what it described as "critical partners" in the fight against cybercrime.

"The Microsoft Cybercrime Center is where our experts come together with customers and partners to focus on one thing: keeping people safe online," David Finn, associate general counsel of the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, in prepared remarks. "By combining sophisticated tools and technology with the right skills and new perspectives, we can make the Internet safer for everyone."

Noboru Nakatani, Interpol's executive director for the Global Complex for Innovation, added: "In the fight against cybercrime the public sector significantly benefits from private sector expertise, such as provided by Microsoft."

Microsoft's work up until now has seen some of the worst botnets in history tackled to the ground. Notable disruptions include the take down of the Bimatal search engine results hijacking botnet in February, and the Citadel financial fraud botnet months later in June.

The software giant also launched PhotoDNA in 2009 in efforts to help address the illegal distribution of child abuse imagery worldwide, and as since acquired partners that have tapped into its technology.

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