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Microsoft Launches Cybercrime Center to Fight Malware, Piracy

Dow Jones Business News reports that Microsoft is merging its digital crimes and Internet piracy units into one advanced Cybercrime Center located on its Redmond, Washington campus. This will allow Microsoft to centralize all investigations relating to government and law enforcement agencies.

According to a report, a staff of 30 will reside at the new operations center, and work with 70 other Microsoft investigators spread across the globe. Together they will focus on malicious software crime, technology-related child exploitation and piracy.

A recent IDC study commissioned by Microsoft reports that pirated software and malware are arriving together on PCs distributed in rapidly growing emerging markets. This is creating an even larger pool of victims for preying criminal groups, thus pushing Microsoft into regrouping and doubling its efforts in reducing both.

The study reports that 45-percent of the pirated software that does not come pre-installed on a computer is acquired from the Internet. 78-percent of that download group stems from websites or peer-to-peer networks and includes some type of spyware. 36-percent of the download group even contains malware and adware, the study revealed.

David Finn, associate general counsel in the Microsoft Cybercrime Center, said that some of the reported malware records the victim's every keystroke. Others will secretly switch on the user's camera and microphone, giving cybercriminals "eyes and ears" in company meetings and living rooms.

The report goes on to reveal that 45-percent of the survey respondents who installed pirated software suffered system slowdowns and had to uninstall the software. 34-percent said the software wouldn't run at all, and 30-percent said their PC was overrun by pop-ups. 25-percent were infected with a virus, 24-percent saw their home network slow to a crawl, and 17-percent claimed they were forced to reformat their hard drive. Out of all the consumer respondents, 23-percent said they didn’t have any problems.

"Malicious code and non-genuine code go hand-in-hand, it's as simple as that," said David Finn, associate general counsel for Microsoft and head of its Cybercrime Center.

Microsoft claims that its Cybercrime Center provides "hi-tech investigative resources and access to intelligence on infected PCs and associated malware that product and service teams can use to combat account and platform compromise and service abuses, including denial of service attacks, ad fraud, and botnet creation."

Experts from across Microsoft’s product groups can work side by side with each other, the Digital Crimes Unit, and industry partners to develop and execute cybercrime disruption strategies, the company said.

The recent Microsoft-sanctioned 29-page report by IDC can be read in PDF format here.

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  • curiosul
    "78-percent of that download group stems from websites or peer-to-peer networks and includes some type of spyware"
    This means that:

    1: ALL the software on websites and p2p networks include "some type of spyware"

    OR

    2: Keygens and/or cracks are considered spyware

    OR

    3: My understanding of logic (and/or grammar) differs from theirs
    Reply
  • viper666
    The report goes on to reveal that 45-percent of the survey respondents who installed pirated software suffered system slowdowns and had to uninstall the software.

    This is what happens when uninformed people download from the first link they see on Google. It's their own fault for not doing their research.
    Reply
  • azraa
    Agreed. Searching the correct source is key. If not, you end up with a 3rd party installer and tons of bloatware possibly spyware. Multiply that by 100 if the user is new to the internet and installs every crap he/she sees.

    Microsoft, and many other software companies are considering their average user much more stupid than before. That is anoying :(
    Reply
  • koss64
    azraaAgreed. Searching the correct source is key. If not, you end up with a 3rd party installer and tons of bloatware possibly spyware. Multiply that by 100 if the user is new to the internet and installs every crap he/she sees.Microsoft, and many other software companies are considering their average user much more stupid than before. That is anoying
    But its so true,worst part is people buy these machines from stores that look legitimate.
    Reply
  • techguy911
    They need to crack down on the phone fraud ie. company claims it's microsoft and that your computer is having problems and they will fix it for you if you let them remote access into your computer, they then make you visit a web page where it installs a rootkit then banking trojan on your system.
    Don't matter what AV you have this rootkit will not show up when you do a scan and nether will the banking trojan which it is hiding unless you scan from a boot cd or slave into a system with a running AV.
    Microsoft will never call you at home this is a scam to steal info from your computer i wonder is microsoft knows about these guys.

    Also formatting your computer does NOT get rid of some rootkits/bootkits it has to be zero'ed by either a boot cd or slaved into a computer with a running up to date AV and wiped including the boot sectors.

    The main cause of these infections are security holes in internet explorer and java i have seen people with up to date av's still get infected with zero day malware that disables the av but it still looks like it is running.
    Also these people that were infected by ad's on poplar websites such as MSN,Google,Facebook,yahoo and lots of other sites which you think would be safe.

    Only true way to surf safe is to un-install java and stop using internet explorer better yet run linux in a virtual machine set to secure mode or boot from a live cd.

    Reply
  • gm0n3y
    I haven't pirated any software (including games) in a few years now, but as far as I know, it's generally not hard to find clean copies of popular software on the major torrent sites. I can't recall ever having any spyware/malware/adware installed (that I ever found out about anyway) as a result of installing pirated software. Has it gotten that much worse over the past couple of years?
    Reply
  • MaXimus421
    If you know where to go, there are no worries of this. On the other hand, if you don't know where to go you are likely not very knowledgeable of stuff like this to begin with.

    Knowledge is power people. lol.. (always wanted to say that)
    Reply
  • FinneousPJ
    Wait, what authority does MS have regarding any sort of crime?
    Reply
  • dalethepcman
    A recent IDC study commissioned by Microsoft reports that pirated software and malware are arriving together on PCs distributed in rapidly growing emerging markets.

    I didn't know America was considered an emerging market, but HP / Gateway / Dell / E-Machiens sure load up the malware/spyware...
    FinneousPJWait, what authority does MS have regarding any sort of crime?Are you really that ignorant?
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57568067-83/microsoft-symantec-shutter-another-botnet/
    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/microsoft-botnet-takedown/
    http://blogs.technet.com/b/security/archive/2011/09/22/microsoft-gives-rustock-botnet-evidence-to-the-fbi.aspx
    http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2012/07/02/microsoft-names-defendants-in-zeus-botnets-case-provides-new-evidence-to-fbi.aspx
    Reply
  • dextermat
    to dalethepcman

    The only problem is 1 down 2 000 000 000 to go, it's just like war against drugs: a big waste of money.
    Wake up and smell the coffee man. But don't get me wrong, I wish malware would go away.
    Reply