U.S. Law Enforcement Gets a Lift from COFEE


Posted by Tim Cranton 
Associate General CounselThe USB-based Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (COFEE) helps law enforcement officers at the scene of a crime gather volatile evidence of “live” computer activity that would be lost in a traditional offline forensic analysis.

As the world becomes more digital by the day, so too do the tactics used to investigate both traditional and cyber crimes.  Internet crimes and cyber attacks are constantly growing in complexity, so law enforcement agencies need new tools and training to contain the evolving threats. 

Towards that end, we announced today along with theNational White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) that we are expanding availability of a sophisticated software tool, known as COFEE, which helps law enforcement combat cyber crime. 

We made the announcement at the Digital Crimes Consortium here in Redmond.  Hosted by Microsoft and sponsored by Neustar, Symantec and Verisign, the Digital Crimes Consortium brings together worldwide law enforcement agencies, government, academic and industry experts to share information, build relationships and exchange ideas about threats that both consumers and law enforcement are facing.


The NW3C joins INTERPOL as a distributor of Microsoft’s Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (COFEE) to law enforcement for use in capturing important “live” data – such as active system processes and network data – that resides on computers at the scene of a crime investigation. Such evidence, which can assist in the investigation and prosecution of a crime, can get lost when a computer is shut down and removed from the scene for later analysis. 

With COFEE, a front-line officer doesn’t have to be a computer forensics expert or even have much computer experience to capture this important evidence.  With less than 10 minutes of training and a pre-configured USB device, an officer can use COFEE to capture live computer data on the scene.

Today’s announcement makes NW3C the first U.S.-based distributor of COFEE.  NW3Cwill work with INTERPOL, Florida State University and University College Dublin on an ongoing basis to ensure COFEE evolves to meet law enforcement needs over time.  COFEE will continue to be provided to law enforcement by INTERPOL and NW3C at no charge.

As I’ve written here before, Microsoft is vigilant about using both technology and the law to fight illegal activity online. As our work continues, we will keep you updated on the technological, legal and educational efforts we undertake in support of that mission. In the meantime, for more information about today’s announcements and the Digital Crimes Consortium, you can read our press release here.  And if you’re interested in learning more about COFEE, please visit this site.


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