Fighting crime with technology: The Microsoft Digital Crime Unit is on the case

The future is here. The Internet has changed the way our society functions, and social media and mobile devices are connecting people like never before. The bad news is that as we continue to lean on Internet-based technologies for communications, commerce, and fun, it opens up opportunities for cyber criminals.

To fight cyber crime, you need cyber solutions, and technology is coming to the rescue. It is now possible to catch pedophiles on Facebook, save children from the sex trade, and find the miscreants who fire botnets off into the Internet. To help battle these criminals, Microsoft is partnering with law enforcement and public security agencies worldwide through its Digital Crimes Unit (DCU). Microsoft’s DCU gives law enforcement and security agencies the tools and information to fight crime - digital and otherwise.

One of the more high-profile examples of this is the deployment of PhotoDNA on Facebook. The tool was recently used to scan for photographs of child pornography. Out of more than two billion images scanned, more than 1,000 matches were found on SkyDrive, and 1,500 matches were found through Bing’s image search indexing.

None of those were false positives.

Microsoft also led the charge against Rustock botnet, which was "estimated to have approximately a million infected computers operating under its control and has been known to be capable of sending billions of spam mails every day, including fake Microsoft lottery scams and offers for fake – and potentially dangerous – prescription drugs," writes Richard Boscovich, Senior Attorney, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, on the official Microsoft blog (read more about the Rustock take-down).

Rustock was estimated to infect 1 million computers, just one of which could send something like 7500 spam messages in 45 minutes. Microsoft was able to shut down the botnet and is working to bring the bot-herders to justice in court.

Reading about these successes reminds me that technology not only continues to improve our lives as consumers by also as global citizens.

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About the Author

Jennifer Steele | Senior Marketing Manager, Worldwide Public Sector

Jennifer’s focus is on public safety and national security. She joined the Microsoft worldwide team from Avanade, the world’s largest Microsoft consultancy, where she led field marketing for the Americas geography. Read More