Microsoft is hosting Law Enforcement Technology (LE Tech) 2008 to help train law enforcement agency personnel in the ways of tracking down and convicting criminals. The conference will be attended by approximately 400 law enforcement officials from over 35 countries.

As part of conference Microsoft gave law enforcement agencies new ammo in their work against criminals. One particular tool, Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (COFEE), helps automate the collection of forensic evidence from a suspects computer. Microsoft said that the tool can run from a USB flash drive and collect data in about 20 minutes, where an otherwise manual data collection process could take hours.

The company also developed tools that can help track down botnets and their operators. Microsoft said that Quebec police used the tool to bust 17 bad guys that had hijacked nearly half a million computers.

"We offer what we do best – technology – to help law enforcement do what they do best – investigate and prosecute crimes. We understand from our law enforcement partners that cybercriminals are technically sophisticated, leaving a 'digital divide' between the resources and manpower that the criminals use to perpetrate crimes versus the resources that law enforcement agencies have to defend against them. Through training events like this week's LE Tech, we hope to close that digital divide and help ensure that law enforcement keeps an edge over criminals," said Tim Cranton, associate general counsel at Microsoft.