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Microsoft Preps Global Anti-Cyber Crime Push

The initiative, announced at the Council of Europe's OCTOPUS conference on cooperation against cyber crime, will create what the company calls ‘centers of excellence’ in training to fight cyber crime. It already plans to launch two such centers at University College Dublin in Ireland, and the French Universite Technologique de Troyes, which will begin operations next year.

Labeled "Cyber Crime Centres of Excellence Network for Training, Research and Education" (2CENTRE), the initiative will help to plug what Tim Cranston, associate general counsel for worldwide internet safety programs at Microsoft sees as a gap in the European training landscape. A mixture of language differences, and the lack of a single federal jurisdiction has led to inconsistent cyber security training practices in the region, he said.

"Thinking big and bold, we would have a global network of centers of excellence worldwide, and through that network we could be delivering high quality law enforcement training for internet cyber crime investigations to any law-enforcement officer that could connect to the internet," he said. "This would ideally give them the opportunity to get directly to the centers and get more training when they needed it."

The company has submitted the initiative to the European Commission, and hopes that universities will be able to apply for funding under its Prevention of and Fight against Crime program, also known as ISEC.

The initiative will promote a closer working relationship between the private sector, law enforcement, and academia. Joe Carthy, director of the centre for cyber crime investigation at University College Dublin, explained that the institution had been teaching cyber crime investigation since 1987, and had instigated a Masters program in 2006. In the past, however, it had offered the courses exclusively to law-enforcement officials. For the first time, it will be offering the courses to private sector attendees.

"The idea will be to develop Masters programs that industry placements can share and take alongside law-enforcement, so that all parties can benefit from the training," he said. UCD currently offers nine courses, and will be adding another six, drawing extensively on the private sector for the content. He also expects graduates from the Masters program to revisit and refresh their skills every two or three years as new courses are added.

The Microsoft initiative will encourage the teaching of industry techniques including electronic crime scene preservation, investigative techniques for unlike crimes and network misuse, evidence capture, and the management of intelligence-led operations.

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