Microsoft opens state-of-the-art facility to crack down on cybercriminals
In a building on the north side of Microsoft Corp.'s Redmond, Wash., campus, there is much talk of stopping the bad guys.
By that, the Microsoft employees do not mean Google, Apple or Amazon.com.
Rather, the investigators, forensics experts, engineers and lawyers staffing Microsoft's new Cybercrime Center talk about stopping criminals: software pirates, criminal syndicates that run botnets and exploiters of children.
Microsoft opened the doors last week to its multimillion-dollar Cybercrime Center, a 16,800-square-foot facility that is one part crime-fighting headquarters and one part sleek showcase for Microsoft technologies.
Part of the reason Microsoft developed the center was to make sure it had the latest state-of-the-art tools it needed to fight increasingly savvy criminals.
“As the cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated, our abilities are getting more sophisticated,” said David Finn, associate general counsel of Microsoft's digital-crimes unit, during a tour of the facility last week.
The center brings together company units that focus on piracy and intellectual property theft, and on digital crimes, including botnets and malware, and technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation.
About 35 of Microsoft's 100 employees worldwide employed in those units are based in the Cybercrime Center, which includes Microsoft technologies such as Site Print, which can map online organized-crime networks, and PhotoDNA, which helps find and remove some of the worst images of child porn online.
Large touch screens from Perceptive Pixel, a company Microsoft purchased in 2012, line the walls, showing off Excel Power Map, a 3-D data-visualization tool.
In large workspaces cordoned off behind glass walls that can convert from transparent to opaque, forensics teams look over evidence, while malware teams map online-crime networks.
Down another corridor, a line of offices reveals rooms that can be occupied by visiting crime-fighting partners, such as those from law enforcement or academia.
“We designed the center with partners high in our minds,” Finn said.
Another reason Microsoft began the center is to have a place to bring visiting dignitaries and leaders to give them an idea of how Microsoft technologies could be used — not just for investigating crimes, but for handling and analyzing large amounts of data for use in businesses and other organizations.
Microsoft already has an Envisioning Center, where it showcases technologies as part of its vision of future workplaces, homes and “third places,” such as retail stores and restaurants.
The Cybercrime Center, in contrast, shows off the technologies in action, “where people are actually working,” said Brad Smith, executive vice president and general counsel at Microsoft. “I wanted to create a place where people — government or businesses — could see how we're using our own technology.”
Like the Envisioning Center, the Cybercrime Center is not open to the public.
Smith declined to say how much the center cost, except to say that it was a multimillion-dollar investment. He added that the cost was largely recouped in a recent agreement reached with one of the cybercriminals the center's team caught.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh’s tech startup activity rates last of 40 metro areas in report
- After years of downsizing, big houses make comeback
- New J.C. Penney CEO comes from middle-income America
- How to land that 1st job after college
- Floating homes offer ‘affordable’ option in San Francisco area
- Corporate America speaking out on social issues, getting results
- Airlines offer small conveniences to counter higher fees, less space
- Obama overtime proposal slammed
- EDMC to cut 300 jobs, including 70 in Pittsburgh
- U.S. employers add 223K jobs, jobless rate falls to 5.3%
- Heinz executives to dominate post-merger management of Kraft Heinz Co.