The Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) works tirelessly to make our world safer through technology and working hand in hand with law enforcement, NGOs and other organizations to disrupt malicious software attacks and technology-facilitated child exploitation.
FY12 marked many important successes in DCU’s effort to transform the fight against cyber crime. Here are four of our favorites:
DCU Makes PhotoDNA Available to Law Enforcement Agencies at No Cost
In March, DCU announced that its groundbreaking image-matching technology Microsoft PhotoDNA would be made available to international law enforcement agencies at no cost to assist with investigations of child sex abuse and further advance the fight against child pornography worldwide. PhotoDNA technology, integrated into a new version of the NetClean Analyze suite, enables faster and more accurate data gathering and ultimately empowers law enforcement agents to find, report, and eliminate child pornography online and more quickly identify and rescue victims.
DCU Provides $2.3M in Microsoft Technology to NW3C
DCU announced in early May that it had provided $2.3M in Microsoft technology to help the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) a long-time partner in the fight against cyber criminals—support law enforcement agencies with the critical tools, training and technology needed to combat economic and high-tech crime.
DCU and Partners Disrupt Zeus Botnets
After months of coordinated effort, Microsoft and its collaboration partners (Financial Services - Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), NACHA, and Kyrus Tech Inc.) executed a coordinated global action against some of the worst known cybercrime operations theft in March of this year. The effort disrupted many of the most harmful botnets using the Zeus family of malware in an unprecedented, proactive cross-industry operation. Zeus malware uses a tactic called keylogging to gain access to usernames and passwords in order to steal victims’ identities, withdraw money from their bank accounts and make online purchases. The collaboration resulted in a strategic disruption of these criminal operations, mitigating the threat and causing long-term damage to the organization that relies on these botnets for illicit gain.
DCU and Microsoft Research Award Grants Study Technology’s Role in Sex Trafficking
In June, DCU and Microsoft Research awarded six research teams with grants totaling $185,000 to “advance deeper understanding of the role of technology in human trafficking,” particularly as it relates to the child sex trade. Through this funding Microsoft aims to continue its collaboration with public and private sector leaders and make a substantial difference in the fight against trafficking and child sexual exploitation.
We’re proud to celebrate the DCU team’s accomplishments along with our national security and public safety peers, and we look forward to the year ahead. Stay up to date on news and announcements from our digital crimes division by visiting the DCU newsroom, Facebook page, Twitter feed and YouTube channel.