Microsoft donates to national cyber forensics center

Microsoft Corp. has assigned a full-time analyst and donated more than $46,000 worth of software to the National Cyber-Forensics Training Alliance, a public-private partnership in Pittsburgh.

The alliance was established in 2003 as an outgrowth of the Pittsburgh High Tech Crimes Task Force, a collaboration of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. NCFTA is a mechanism to let law enforcement tap into the expertise of industry and academic institutions.

The primary partners are the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center, Carnegie Mellon University and West Virginia University.

Also participating in or contributing to NCFTA are the Justice and Defense departments, the Secret Service, U.S. Postal Service, IRS, NASA and a number state and local law enforcement agencies.

Microsoft is among a long list of tech companies counted as founding partners of the alliance.

The Microsoft-assigned analyst will focus on analyzing real-time data on phishing scams and cases brought under the CAN-SPAM act, as well as provide training for law enforcement and industry.

Spam and phishing, an automated form of social engineering that uses phony e-mails to trick consumers out of personal or financial information, have emerged as major security concerns as well as headaches to service providers.

NCFTA sees itself as working much like a teaching hospital, where treatment of real-life cases goes hand-in-hand with research and education.

The alliance is expected to be the first of a network of regional partnerships that will share resources and collaborate through a secure virtual private network.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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