I have not written about Microsoft’s COFEE (Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor) tool in the past due to its specific purpose in helping law enforcement agencies. Now that it is in the wild, there are a couple of things to note:
- The leak won’t help criminals. “COFEE was designed and provided for use by law enforcement with proper legal authority, but is essentially a collection of digital forensic tools already commonly used around the world. Its value for law enforcement is not in secret functionality unknown to cybercriminals, its value is in the way COFEE brings those tools together in a simple and customizable format for law enforcement use in the field,” noted Richard Boscovich, senior attorney, Internet Safety at Microsoft.
- Microsoft deserves huge kudos for putting together this suite of forensics tools in an easy format for law enforcement, and for ensuring the tool is in the hands of so many law enforcement bodies around the world – their press release says they are “in no less than 187 markets”.
In a time where internet companies deliberately exploit consumers (see Scamming Users Part of Social Gaming Company Zynga’s business model), trample privacy (see Date Check Tramples Privacy, Calls it “Look up before you hook up.”), claim ownership of personal content (see Facebook Withdraws Changes in Data Use), etc., it is worth showcasing the socially responsible companies.