Microsoft is opening a landmark 16,800-square foot (1,560m sq) Cybercrime Centre on its Redmond campus to act as an HQ and anchor point for a network of satellite offices that will collect evidence on malware from every continent, the firm has announced.
Although the network will encompass facilities Microsoft already has - visualising global cyberthreats and malware in near real time - the significant element is the ambition to gather intelligence on organised crime networks, including those peddling child porn as well as malware.
This broader emphasis on integrating digital and more traditional evidence is important because Microsoft is already considered the foremost organisation in the world for forensic and legal investigations of cybercrime, channelled through its highly-regarded Digital Crimes Unit (DCU).
The DCU has been a common thread in virtually all the significant anti-criminal takedowns of the last decade, including the downing of the command and control used by a series of large botnets and even action to remotely clean infected systems.
At times, the DCU's expertise (including its 100-attorney legal pool) has put to shame the policing organisations whose job it should be to tackle cybercrime particularly that perpetrated against ordinary computer users rather than large organisations or governments.
Remarkable to say it but at times a Microsoft has seemed like the hub for every significant international police action against cyber-criminals, in effect making it the world's most important digital policeman without portfolio.
The new Centre will also include a secure room for third party experts, helping to "enrich partnerships across industry, academia, law enforcement and customers," said Microsoft.
"The Microsoft Cybercrime Center is where our experts come together with customers and partners to focus on one thing: keeping people safe online," said David Finn, associate general counsel of the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit.
"By combining sophisticated tools and technology with the right skills and new perspectives, we can make the Internet safer for everyone."
External satellites will include offices in in Beijing, Berlin, Bogota, Brussels, Dublin, Edinboro (US), Gurgaon (India), Hong Kong, Munich, Singapore, Sydney, and Washington, D.C.
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