According to a recent Network World.com article, Microsoft is taking the Internet security fight to cybercrime in a big way. They have created a carefully planned approach to searching out and taking down cyber criminal owned and operated botnets.
They have created an organization within Microsoft called the Digital Crimes Unit. “The DCU has just 11 members or so, augmented by tapping the resources of other departments within Microsoft as well as technology partners, universities and CERTs throughout the world with which it pieces together teams devoted to each assault against Internet criminals, says TJ Campana, the director of DCU. “ Set up in 2003, it “is a joint legal and technical group based at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash., with some members based in Europe and some in Asia. In 2009 it became part of Microsoft Active Response for Security (MARS) a collaboration of DCU, Microsoft Malware Protection Center and Microsoft Trustworthy Computing specifically to combat botnets. The new group created a top threats list and started planning legal and technical approaches to address the targets. “
The DCU has been successful in taking down 5 of the most malicious and dangerous botnets of our time in recent years by dismantling their command and control computers that control the botnets. And all this was done legally, using court approved legal action based on existing laws.
I applaud Microsoft’s investment in fighting cybercrime by “walking the swalk” where others are merely “talking the talk” so to speak. They’re not only shutting down whole botnets, but they continue to develop cutting edge legal and technical methods that other organizations may use to also fight the fight. Their decision to man the DCU with lawyers as well as technicians was possibly the reason they have been so successful…without breaking the law themselves.
The bottom line, in my opinion, is that two things will result from the success of Microsoft. First, as more and more botnets are taken down, it will be more difficult for cyber crime organizations to operate; both from a time and money point of view. And second, the crime groups will shift to other targets than Microsoft Windows-based computers; probably to mobile devices such as smartphones, and to computers with other popular operating systems such as Apple. I’ve said before that the cyber crooks always take the path of least resistance; and that means they will seek less protected targets. Sad, but true, I’m afraid. Be careful out there, it’s very dangerous.
Reference: Network World article
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