Microsoft takes security teams global

New security research centres touted for Europe and Asia

Microsoft has announced plans to open new security research centres in Europe and Asia, the first time such teams have been located outside the U.S.

The company plans to use the centres to monitor emerging security threats round the clock regardless of time zone limitations, and to bolster parts of its emerging security threat business such as the much criticized Windows Live OneCare.

"We will develop sites to cover the Americas, EMEA and Asia, for us to be protecting customers and providing support globally for all the people that use the various security products that we develop," said Microsoft's Vincent Gullotto, at the RSA show this week.

Gullotto also fended off criticism of the patchy performance of the company's OneCare software in a recent test of anti-virus products for Vista carried out by U.K. security publication Virus Bulletin.

"We missed one virus in their collection. While missing one virus isn't huge, it is not a good thing either. It can put the thinking into the mind of folks that we can't keep them protected," he was quoted as saying in an interview.

There are other possible motivations beyond the need to reinforce a part of its business the company has identified as potentially highly profitable but not yet fully prospering. In recent years, the company has become a regular participant with police forces around the world in prosecutions of cyber-criminality. The company has never made clear which parts of the company gather evidence to pass on to police forces, but the expansion could play into an increase in such activity.

Gullotto announced that the European head of operations will be Katrin Tocheva, formerly a malware researcher at Finnish company F-Secure.

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John E. Dunn

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