At Microsoft, a Sharpened Focus on Cybercrime

Cybercrime has developed in the last few years into a major concern, not just for the consumers and businesses that are victims, but also for governments around the world. Obama administration officials have called it one of the larger threats to the United States economy. While law enforcement agencies handle the investigative and prosecutorial piece of things, they are increasingly being aided by experts at companies such as Microsoft, Google and others that have unique insights into attackers’ activities and the capability to make life more difficult for them.Microsoft, for one, has taken a very aggressive stance on cybercrime in recent years. By virtue of its massive user base, the company has a lot of visibility into the ways that attackers are exploiting not just Microsoft products, but also other applications installed on target machines. As one would imagine, Microsoft officials take a dim view of attackers going after their customers, and the company has been using a variety of methods for preventing cybercrime and punishing those involved in it. The most visible piece of this arsenal is the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, a small group of engineers, security experts and lawyers here who spend their days tracking botnet operators, malware writers and helping law enforcement agencies around the world identify and find them.

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