MICROSOFT HAS confirmed that its digital forensics software, called COFEE, has been leaked onto the web but says it's not concerned that cyber criminals can ‘build around' the program.
The Vole has also said that it is illegal for people to download the software, spotted on a bit-torrent site.
Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (COFEE) is a forensics tool that fits on a USB flash drive for the police to use in PC forensics.
The programme was spotted on a file-sharing site, available for all to download on Monday. At the time it was reported that security experts were concerned that cyber criminals could analyse COFEE and write code that would identify and intercept it, securely wiping incriminating data from their hard drives. But Microsoft now says it's not worried.
In a statement from Vole's Internet Safety Enforcement Team, senior attorney Richard Boscovich said, "We do not anticipate the possible availability of COFEE for cybercriminals to download and find ways to ‘build around' to be a significant concern."
He Boscovich also pointed out that Microsoft has only granted legal usage rights for COFEE technology for law enforcement purposes for which it was designed. So illegal downloaders would be using it, err, illegally. Words guaranteed to strike fear into the hearts of any cyber criminals using the software.
He continued, "[COFEE is a] collection of digital forensic tools already commonly used around the world. Its value for law enforcement is not in secret functionality unknown to cyber criminals, its value is in the way COFEE brings those tools together in a simple and customisable format for law enforcement use in the field."
COFEE is free to police forces around the world and helps the plod ferret out details about crimes such as identity theft, online fraud, child pornography and illegal filesharing.
It can be an effective investigative tool, apparently, if the coppers can get access to wrong-doers' systems before the criminals can wipe the information. µ