Tuesday, April 29, 2008

You Won't Need 42 Days Now, Will You?

In interesting news from Seattle, Microsoft have released a device that allows the police to get data from a PC despite your best efforts at encryption.

The COFEE, which stands for Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor, is a USB "thumb drive" that was quietly distributed to a handful of law-enforcement agencies last June. Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith described its use to the 350 law-enforcement experts attending a company conference Monday.

The device contains 150 commands that can dramatically cut the time it takes to gather digital evidence, which is becoming more important in real-world crime, as well as cybercrime. It can decrypt passwords and analyze a computer's Internet activity, as well as data stored in the computer.

It also eliminates the need to seize a computer itself, which typically involves disconnecting from a network, turning off the power and potentially losing data. Instead, the investigator can scan for evidence on site.

More than 2,000 officers in 15 countries, including Poland, the Philippines, Germany, New Zealand and the United States, are using the device, which Microsoft provides free. There's no news as of yet whether the UK police are one of the lucky recipients, but if they are, then the Government is going to have to do a hell of a job selling the extension to detention, seeing as they were saying how tricky it was to break encryption within the current 28 day limit.

This would be another good reason for not using Microsoft OS on your PC.

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