It looks like a typical USB thumb drive, but under the hood there’s a lot more going on. Microsoft has built these items specially for police forces, andinside that mild-mannered exterior, it contains a few super powers. Called the Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor, it has over 150 commands, including the ability to check surfinghistory, decrypt some passwords, log hard drive activity and map hard drives – all without shutting down the computer and risk losing evidence. The company began giving the device topolice last year, and now it’s used by more than 2,000 forces across 15 different countries, but it was put on display for the first time when Microsoft hosted a conference for law-enforcementpersonnel at its Redmond campus. Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith told the Seattle Times: "These are things in whichwe invest substantial resources, but not from the perspective of making money. We’re doing this to help ensure that the internet stays safe." However, he admitted that the altruism doespay off in the other software and services they sell the forces to go with the USB stick.
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