How an FBI agent transformed Microsoft security

In time for Infosecurity 2009, IT PRO talks to Edward Gibson, one of the main figures behind Microsoft's computer security in Britain.

Gibson said: "I was the liaison between the people who thought they had no voice with Microsoft, irrespective of the size of the company."

FBI insight

One of Gibson's roles is to bring an FBI' insight to Microsoft.

As he puts it, while most people look at someone driving a new car and are impressed that they could afford it, his automatic reaction would be to ask "Who did they scam to buy that car?"

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Gibson said that between 2000 and 2005 he was involved in the investigation of child murder cases that involved the internet.

"I've interviewed paedophiles who have preyed on little people for years on end... I bring that experience to bear when we talk about paedophiles using [Microsoft] technology to enhance what they were doing," he explained.

"In some case they were, so we could change a script or process to make our services or hardware much more impervious to attack."

Gibson claimed that Microsoft had changed its reputation on security beyond recognition in the past few years, with its Patch Tuesday now updates recognised as best practice for other companies.

Cybercriminals today

Gibson said that today the internet is now facing the problems of traditional organised crime, rather than the hacker problems of the past, as financial gain overtakes fun and games.

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He said: "The technology now is targeted and increasingly difficult to combat."

"We can do better, but there are people and organisations out there whose sole function in life is to build technology, scripts and programs to break systems," he added.

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