Skip to main content

Microsoft's PC crime cracker not yet available

Foolproof policing?

Microsoft has told TechRadar that the COFEE tool it has built to help the Police look into PCs believed to have been used for criminal activity is still in Beta and has not yet been made available to forces in the UK.

Microsoft had announced that its suite of programs – named the Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor or COFEE or short – was already being circulated, but there remains widespread confusion as to whether this is the case.


Microsoft’s security advisor in the UK, Ed Gibson, speaking to TechRadar, insists that the software – which could be used on a thumb USB drive to quickly take an image of a suspects computer – is not readily available, yet.

“The latest information is that COFEE is still in beta and that it is not yet available through the law enforcement portal,” said Gibson – who has also worked for the FBI in the fight against cybercrime.

“The law enforcement portal is a password protected site that is only be available to police forces, and COFEE will be available through that.”

There remains some fairly obvious doubts over whether the process would remain private to police forces should it be used to push for criminal convictions – with the likelihood that any defence would require access to the way in which the program takes the information.