Microsoft takes fighting software counterfeiting so seriously that it's looking at crime-scene forensic technology for inspiration. Apparently the software maker is using custom microscopes to match counterfeit discs to their creators—just like bullets to guns:
At a crime lab in Dublin, Microsoft's Donal Keating uses a custom-built microscope to take 72 high-resolution images of a counterfeit software disc. Just as police use ballistics to match bullets to a suspect's gun, Keating, the company's senior forensics manager, will use the abrasions and grooves on the stacking ring, a raised ridge around the disc's center, to match it to other fakes. He'll then try to trace the counterfeit disc to the factory and the crime syndicate that produced it.
In addition to using these specialized microscopes and ballistics matches, Microsoft is also using a technique that "involves identifying digital traces left behind by the laser that stamped the disc."
Surely these techniques are used by large forensic teams, but I'm just picturing a dimly lit crime lab with Microsoft's version of Abby Sciuto telling her boss just where a fishy copy of Microsoft Office was produced. [Business Week]
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