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Dedicated Microsoft centre battles cybercrime worldwide

Global team collaborates with information tech partners

Cybercrime is a booming business for organised crime groups all over the world. A study by International Data Corp and the National University of Singapore reveals that businesses worldwide will spend nearly US$500 billion (Bt16 trillion) this year to deal with the problems caused by malware on pirated software. Individual consumers, meanwhile, are expected to spend $25 billion and waste 1.2 billion hours this year because of security threats and costly computer fixes.

David Finn is associate general counsel and executive director of Microsoft Cybercrime Center, set up last November. Within the Cybercrime Center is Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit (DCU), an international team that works with industry partners to help create a safe digital world.

"Cybercrime Center is a reflection of Microsoft's long-standing commitment to fighting cybercrime, and gives us one place to bring our experts together so that we can have a bigger impact in addressing this problem," Finn said.

Cyber-criminals are profiting from any security lapse they can find, with financially devastating results for everyone. They have found new ways to break into computer networks so they can grab whatever they want: people's identities, passwords and money. Finn said the Microsoft Cybercrime Center was determined to put an end to these malicious acts to keep personal and financial data safe and secure, while reducing the financial incentive for criminals.

He said the centre also provided dedicated space to enrich partnerships across industry, academia, law enforcement and customers. Its tools and technologies enable the DCU to work more effectively with partners to fight cybercrime, and help to ensure that people worldwide can use their computing devices and services with confidence. The unit applies legal and technical expertise to keep the Internet safer for everyone by addressing malicious-software crimes, intellectual-property crimes, or technology-facilitated child exploitation.

The Cybercrime Center is open for select pre-scheduled private tours for partners and organisations working to fight digital crime. It is not open to the general public. The facility covers about 1,560 square metres on Microsoft's campus in Redmond, Washington. Guests will be able to see first-hand the real-time footprint of cybercrime threats around the world.

The centre features the latest in high-tech security measures including forensics technologies and other tools. It has working cybercrime labs, operations and training rooms, and secured space for Microsoft partners.

The secured facility includes two working cybercrime labs, a visualisation wall, and two operations/training rooms, and office locations for the employees of the DCU, including a separate and secure location for third-party partners.

Finn said Microsoft worked with a variety of partners across industries to support its work against cybercrime, including the global security community, law enforcement, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to ensure that personal computers sold overseas that use Microsoft's Windows operating system have genuine software installed.

The Digital Crimes Unit team comprises more than 100 lawyers, investigators, business professionals, and forensic analysts based in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, India, China, and Latin America.

The Cybercrime Center has 12 satellite offices and regional labs in Beijing, Berlin, Bogota, Brussels, Dublin, Edinboro (in the US state of Pennsylvania), Gurgaon in India, Hong Kong, Munich, Singapore, Sydney, and Washington, DC. With the Cybercrime Center in Redmond acting as the operational connector among them, these locations help Microsoft identify and analyse malware and IP crimes, and share cybercrime-fighting best practices with customers and industry partners on a global scale.

"Cyber-criminals are moving very fast," Finn said. "They are getting more sophisticated, more savvy, more elusive. It's going to take organisations, public-private partnerships, coming together in new ways to investigate, prosecute and hold criminals accountable in new ways in order to make the digital world safe for everyone.

"We have an unprecedented opportunity to bring together people with different areas of expertise, and equip them with the best tools and technology available. It is a new era of collaboration, and we're confident that great people and great tools, working together, will deliver tangible results."


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