Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (COFEE)
Easily capture important "live" computer evidence at the scene in cybercrime investigations, without special forensics expertise.
Law enforcement agencies around the world face a common challenge in their fight against cybercrime, child pornography, online fraud, and other computer-facilitated crimes: They must capture important evidence on a computer at the scene of an investigation before it is powered down and removed for later analysis. "Live" evidence, such as active system processes and network data, is volatile and may be lost in the process of turning off a computer. How does an officer on the scene effectively do this if he or she is not a trained computer forensics expert?
* Microsoft gives Interpol free COFEE
* Microsoft device helps police pluck evidence from cyberscene of crime
To help solve this problem, Microsoft has created Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (COFEE), designed exclusively for use by law enforcement agencies. COFEE brings together a number of common digital forensics capabilities into a fast, easy-to-use, automated tool for first responders. And COFEE is being provided—at no charge—to law enforcement around the world.
With COFEE, law enforcement agencies without on-the-scene computer forensics capabilities can now more easily, reliably, and cost-effectively collect volatile live evidence. An officer with even minimal computer experience can be tutored—in less than 10 minutes—to use a pre-configured COFEE device. This enables the officer to take advantage of the same common digital forensics tools used by experts to gather important volatile evidence, while doing little more than simply inserting a USB device into the computer.
The fully customizable tool allows your on-the-scene agents to run more than 150 commands on a live computer system. It also provides reports in a simple format for later interpretation by experts or as supportive evidence for subsequent investigation and prosecution. And the COFEE framework can be tailored to effectively meet the needs of your particular investigation.
To help combat the growing number of ways that criminals use computers and the Internet to commit crimes, Microsoft is working with INTERPOL and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) to provide COFEE at no cost to law enforcement agencies in 187 countries worldwide. INTERPOL and NW3C are also working with Florida State University and University College Dublin to continue the research and development that will help ensure that COFEE serves the needs of law enforcement, even as technology evolves.
Law enforcement can get COFEE from NW3C at www.nw3c.org or by contacting INTERPOL at COFEE@interpol.int.
If it's vital to government, it's mission critical to Microsoft.
Let's read the posting from Dark Reading:
Microsoft Forensics Tool For Law Enforcement Leaked Online
Security experts worry cybercriminals will figure out ways to circumvent the tool, which was discovered in a file-sharing forum
By Kelly Jackson Higgins, DarkReading
Nov. 9, 2009
A forensics tool built by Microsoft exclusively for law enforcement officials worldwide was posted to a file-sharing site, leaving the USB-based tool at risk of falling into the wrong hands.
COFEE is a free, USB-based set of tools, which Microsoft offers only to law enforcement, that plugs into a computer to gather evidence during an investigation. It lets an officer with little or no computer know-how use digital forensics tools to gather volatile evidence.
COFEE was posted, and then later removed, from at least one file-sharing site, but security experts say the cat is now out of the bag. While many forensics tools with similar functionality as Microsoft's Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (COFEE) are available, security experts still worry the bad guys will use their access to the tool to figure out ways to circumvent it.
Chris Wysopal, CTO at Veracode, says the danger is that a detection tool will be written for COFEE so that the bad guys can cover their tracks. "Someone will build a detector so that machines will wipe themselves or give rootkit-like fake answers if this USB is inserted into a computer," Wysopal says.
One researcher who got a copy of COFEE online says bad guys could abuse the tool by taking one of its DLLs and loading it into a compromised machine's memory, where it then dumps stored clear-text passwords to a file.
Microsoft says it's investigating reports that some version of COFEE may have been made available online, but that it's not worried about workarounds. "Note that contrary to reports, we do not anticipate the possible availability of COFEE for cybercriminals to download and find ways to 'build around' to be a significant concern," said Richard Boscovich, senior attorney for Microsoft's Internet Safety Enforcement Team, in a statement. "COFEE was designed and provided for use by law enforcement with proper legal authority, but is essentially a collection of digital forensic tools already commonly used around the world. Its value for law enforcement is not in secret functionality unknown to cybercriminals -- its value is in the way COFEE brings those tools together in a simple and customizable format for law enforcement use in the field."
Boscovich said Microsoft "strongly" recommends not downloading "any technology purporting to be COFEE outside of authorized channels -- both because any unauthorized technology may not be what it claims to be, and because Microsoft has only granted legal usage rights for our COFEE technology for law enforcement purposes."
"We will take action to mitigate any unauthorized distribution of our technology beyond the means for which it's been legally provided," he said.
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant with Sophos, says while there are plenty of tools that perform similar tasks to COFEE, it's not very likely to be abused for nefarious purposes. But, "that can't be ruled out," he says.
Cluley is more concerned about criminals learning the inner workings of COFEE. The real danger is if they can "determine if it is being run on one of their PCs and take precautionary steps to prevent the computer crime community from finding out what they've been up to," he says.
But getting a copy of COFEE won't likely expose its "secret sauce," says Jamie Butler, a director at digital forensics firm Mandiant. Attempting to reverse-engineer it to evade it probably isn't necessary for the bad guys, anyway, because the suite of tools in COFEE collects so much data that they already can get lost in the "noise," Butler says.
Well...that's not a ringing endorsement of its effectiveness.
Go to this page, and it actually tells a lot more about the processes involved.