NeuGroup’s Internal Auditors’ Peer Group will get a chance to see Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit in action at its November peer group meeting.
Save the elections, save the world. That could be Microsoft’s latest tagline, as one of its businesses recently made a name for itself in cybersecurity news. In late-August, Microsoft announced it had stymied a group of Russian hackers by disrupting and taking control of several of its websites.
By thwarting an attack on conservative groups, political campaigns, voting machines and advocates for tougher cybersecurity, Microsoft has thrust into the limelight its Digital Crimes Unit (DCU). Using a phalanx of specialists from a variety of a disciplines, the DCU executed a court order to disrupt and transfer control of six internet domains created by a group widely associated with the Russian government and known as Strontium, APT28, or more informally, Fancy Bear.
Microsoft says its DCU is made up of an international group of attorneys, investigators, data scientists, engineers, analysts and business professionals all focused on “protecting people, organizations and our cloud against cybercriminals. We disrupt cybercrime through the innovative application of technology, forensics, law and partnerships.”
In a way, Microsoft is becoming the top cop of the Internet, experts say. According to reports, the company has used the courts 12 times in the last two years to shut down 84 fake websites associated with Strontium. However, it has also used legal tactics to go after botnets, or malicious networks of automated accounts, since at least 2010. “We use creative technical and legal strategies to disrupt the criminal infrastructure, deter nation-state actors from using our platform, and notify victims of these cyberattacks,” Microsoft said in a press release.
And members of NeuGroup’s Internal Auditors’ Peer Group (IAPG) will a get a first-hand look at what the DCU does at the group’s meeting November 1-2 at Microsoft in Redmond, WA. The tour of the DCU will happen on Day 1 of the day-and-a-half gathering, which will also include sessions on agile auditing, audit committee reporting, and applying artificial intelligence and robotic process automation to the audit process. Members will also see some of the tools the DCU uses for its own investigations.
Microsoft has a history of heavily investing in internal security, whether for straight-forward fraud like travel and expenses’ transgressions and theft of equipment and services, or for the more complex cybercrime world. It has hired ex-law enforcement professionals, including former FBI agents, former postal inspectors, and forensic accounting specialists.
According to Microsoft, the DCU is currently involved in using AI to help crack down on tech support scams as well as help in the fight against online child exploitation. It also recently announced a new service for political campaigns and other organizations to help “protect themselves from cyberattacks.” It is also broadening a Defending Democracy Program announced earlier in the year by partnering with NewsGuard Technologies, a new company that says it will rate “the reliability of news and information websites” and focus on “reducing fake online news.”
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