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Microsoft supplies Interpol with DIY forensics tool

Cofee to the rescue

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Interpol plans to distribute a Microsoft DIY computer forensics tool to its 187 member countries under an agreement announced Wednesday.

Cofee, short for Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor, is a thumb drive containing more than 150 investigative applications police can use to collect digital evidence at crime scenes. When Microsoft announced the free tool last year, it said some 2,000 officers in 15 countries were using it.

The proliferation of cell phones, digital cameras, and other electronics devices means that even old-world crimes such as muggings and burglaries have the potential to be cracked by sifting through digital footprints inadvertently left behind by perpetrators. But collecting that evidence and preserving its integrity so it can be admitted into court trials isn't easy.

Cofee is designed to ease that burden by providing investigators with easy-to-use tools that allows them to collect electronic data on the fly. It also allows them to collect data without necessarily having to lug gear to headquarters first.

Not that Cofee has been well received by everyone. Some of the more conspiratorially minded posited that some of the password-cracking features worked by exploiting backdoors secretly built into Windows. Microsoft has insisted Cofee is solely a collection of forensics tools. ®

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