This week in Microsoft

Company to launch online resource to help authorities with cybercrime probes and build into Vista new safeguards against video piracy.

Steven Musil
Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
Expertise I have more than 30 years' experience in journalism in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
2 min read
Microsoft is laying down the law, or at least getting behind it.

Expanding its efforts to help law enforcement with cybercrime investigations, Microsoft plans in the coming months to launch a new online resource. The Web site will include training, tips and tools for investigations and information on cybercrime, said Richard LaMagna, director of worldwide law enforcement programs at Microsoft.

Microsoft's online training will include simple forensic skills--for example, guidance on digging up information on the hard drive of a seized Windows PC, and basic online investigation techniques such as trace routes and Whois domain database lookups, LaMagna said. Other information on the Web site will include details on recent legislation. Microsoft also plans to offer specialized technical support to investigators.

As Microsoft readies the next version of its Windows operating system, called Vista, the software giant is building in unprecedented levels of safeguards against video piracy. For the first time, the Windows operating system will wall off some audio and video processes almost completely from users and outside programmers, in hopes of making them harder for hackers to reach.

The company is establishing digital security checks that could even shut off a computer's connections to some monitors or televisions if antipiracy procedures that stop high-quality video copying aren't in place. In short, the company is bending over backward--and investing considerable technological resources--to make sure Hollywood studios are happy with the next version of Windows.

Microsoft itself has been a victim of piracy, but this week a Connecticut man pleaded guilty in federal court to selling the software giant's source code over the Internet. William P. Genovese Jr., 28, pleaded guilty to charges that he unlawfully sold and attempted to sell portions of Microsoft's source code for Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000.

According to federal prosecutors, Genovese initially found the source code in February last year, after another party misappropriated the code and distributed it over the Internet without Microsoft's authorization. The defendant, who went under the alias of "illwill" and "xillwillx@yahoo.com," then posted the code to his site and offered it for sale.