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Microsoft's Aggressive New Anti-Cybercrime Offensive

Experts at McAfee estimate that computer crime in Florida and beyond cost society around $300 billion in 2013. They expect that number to rise in 2014.

To meet this costly threat, Microsoft's Digital Crime Unit (DCU) recently created a special Cybercrime Center tasked with ferreting out and disrupting malware, botnets, and other cyber-criminal activity. The team at Microsoft allegedly works with legal and technical experts to create and deploy aggressive weapons in the battle against cybercrime. In 2013, Microsoft’s DCU disrupted seven large botnets, including the so-called ZeroAccess botnet, which had allegedly cost advertisers nearly $3 million a month and led to massive identify theft.

In 2011, the DCU's Assistant General Counsel, Richard Boscovich, stopped a spambot that had infiltrated over 2.5 million computers. When later interviewed about case, Boscovich told reporters: “there were basic common law principles used in a totally unique way to address 21st Century problems … I never envisioned seizing computer servers used as a botnet command and control center by using the Lanham Act’s trademark violations.”

Microsoft has worked closely with industry competitors as well as Europol and the FBI to stamp out cybercrime.

On the surface, this development sounds just fine.

After all, we all want the Internet to be a safer, fairer place. We'd all love to see Internet free of things like malware, spambots, botnets, illegal hacking and the like. On the other hand, this development is also worrying. It raises prickly questions:

• Microsoft is a private company. What if Microsoft decides to use its new techniques and technologies against competitors… or against people who complain about the company? Who “oversees the overseers,” in other words?
• What about the potential for abuse of these technologies and techniques? Will innocent people face serious cybercrime charges because of “false positives” generated by this technology?
• Furthermore, are these novel cybercrime prosecution techniques legal and fair? Sure, these tools can help “stop the bad guys.” But what if the legal arguments don't hold water?

Microsoft wants the public to believe that cybercrime is a big, lurking threat. Of course, cybercrime is a big problem. But defendants in cybercrime cases are often substantially outnumbered and “outgunned.” More often than not, they're confused about their charges.

If you or someone you love has been arrested for a cybercrime in Florida or elsewhere, connect with an experienced Florida cybercrime defense attorney. Call Seltzer Mayberg, LLC, today at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (888-843-3333). We are available to talk any time, 24/7.

Categories: Cyber Crimes
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